Magazine article Business Credit

Dear Andy

Magazine article Business Credit

Dear Andy

Article excerpt


Dear Andy,

From my recent performance appraisal, which incorporates feedback from staff members, I Learned that my direct reports feel I could do a better job of communicating with them. I realize that I get so enmeshed in day-to-day operational details that I don't always give equal attention to staff communication. Can you offer any suggestions for improving in this area?

It's not uncommon for communication to take a back seat to the daily business grind, especially in busy credit departments. But the quality and frequency of communication that occurs within a work group plays an enormous role in keeping employees satisfied and productive. Communication is particularly important during uncertain economic periods when workers may feel undue anxiety over how conditions could affect their employment situation.

As you refocus your priorities, keep in mind that good communication involves more than holding regular staff meetings or "managing by walking around." It entails creating an atmosphere of openness and trust, one in which supervisors strive for candor and staff members feel free to ask questions and express concerns. The following suggestions can help you cultivate such an environment:

Manage the grapevine. Rather than ignoring half-truths or unfounded speculation, take control of the rumor mill to limit its potential to demotivate or preoccupy your staff. If you repeatedly fail to address issues you know employees are talking about, they're likely to fee[ you have a dismissive attitude toward them. A better approach is to nip speculation in the bud and rechannel employees' energies by proactively communicating information and encouraging staff to ask questions about issues of concern. Even if a matter is under discussion at higher levels but nothing has been decided, acknowledge it if you can. Employees understandably become anxious when they feel they're being deliberately kept in the dark.

Make accessibility a priority. Although managers must typically handle multiple demands for their time from colleagues and more senior members of the organization, being available to staff members is also an essential job requirement. Employees will feel frustrated and possibly stymied in their work if they can't get guidance from supervisors when needed, especially if their requests sit in your email or voicemail inbox and are not addressed in a reasonable amount of time. …

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