23Communication is the key to literally everything. Okay, not everything, but a lot of problems come from a lack of communication and those same problems could be avoided with proper communication before it becomes a misunderstanding.

Connecting with team members is crucial to the success of communication. Having the ability to work through problems together is something to strive for. Ensuring that channels are open for everyone from CEO to administrative assistants gives them the information they need to help the business to run smoothly.

Here are three major categories to focus your attention on to correct (or avoid) communication problems and ensure each employee is informed and aligned with the company values and goals in mind.

Team/Project Communication

Collaboration does not work if everyone isn’t in sync. When working as a part of a team, you must remember that others are relying on you to do your part. It’s easy to slack off because you only have yourself to answer to, but when it starts to affect the team, be assured they (and your boss) will hold you accountable.

The team must communicate in a way that will benefit the group as whole instead of simply meeting individual needs. Creating status reports and deadlines together will help keep everyone in check and will streamline the process for your projects and departmental goals.

Cross Departmental Communication

This is where some of the biggest miscommunication issues can happen. It sounds like common sense, but connecting between departments is the only efficient way that company goals can be achieved. When one department is out of the loop, they cannot make necessary adjustments to their team’s work to align with the ever-updated goals.
Creating an open door environment where employees feel they can voice opinions and concerns (and updates) can bridge the gap between departments. Since cross departmental communication is so crucial to the success of the company, establishing one contact person in each department as the “lead liaison” for the team will lessen confusion when someone has questions or concerns for that specific department. This person would be responsible for providing your department’s updates to other departments, via meetings, reporting systems, or emails.

Manager/Executive Communication

Being micromanaged is probably the least preferred style of management. No one wants to be constantly watched or critiqued without being understood. Managers generally don’t like to constantly check in with you either. To ensure you and your manager have an open and positive relationship, set expectations early. In a professional (non-defensive, non-accusatory) manner, discuss what you like and don’t like and listen to how they like to manage as well.

Managers and executives are constantly looking out for what’s best for the company. But they’re also your biggest support system—they hired you because they know you can do the job. Don’t take this for granted; use it to your advantage. Keeping an open line of communication to update them on your tasks (even your ongoing daily ones) will give them peace of mind and earn their trust. So even if you are micromanaged now, you are proving to them day by day you don’t need to be monitored.

The success of an open door company policy comes from mutual understanding. Understanding that when a mistake is made, it won’t be hidden and the person who made the mistake is willing to own the mistake, fix it, and create a process so that it won’t happen again. And on the flip side, we all make mistakes and we all should be flexible and understanding instead of critical.

Working outside your department is difficult and working within your team is difficult, but having an open mind (and door) and great communication skills will help get the job done.

Communication is the key