They're Not Just Words - They Mean Business

by

Roger Maire

Most of a chief officer's time is spent communicating. However, often not enough time is spent making sure that communication is successful. Many hurdles stand in the way of clear, undistorted communication. For example:

The Need for Clear Communication

Two reasons to strive for improving communication within the company are:

Productivity

Putting it bluntly, employees don't want to work for a jerk. They will leave for better conditions as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Theft, property damage, interruption of productivity, and revealing sensitive information to the competition are a few consequences employers can expect when staff members don't feel respected. The key to changing that perception is good communication.

There is an outdated school of management that contends that a tough, no-nonsense boss is the only way to deal with people. I contend that you can, and should, be tough and no-nonsense - if that's the type of person you are. The worst thing you can do as an owner or manager is to be someone you're not and to deal with your staff as such. It is important to note, however, that there is a significant difference between being firm and being a jerk. See if you can tell the difference between the two personality types based on the following descriptions:

To treat employees fairly we need to set standards and communicate them early. If higher productivity and lower turnover is a goal for you, effective communication is essential.

Rules For Good Communication

In order for successful communication to occur, there are three edicts that must be fulfilled: Communication is a two-way process, and sometimes rouses attitudes and emotions. In these cases, don't expect rational feedback. By the same token, if you communicate by do not listen, there is little chance that you will be understood.

Before Communicating

The following suggestions will help you set aside prejudices, biases and blindfolds to become a better communicator.

Selecting Your Words

The words we use send messages about our feelings and attitudes. Avoid this destructive game playing. Following are some suggestions that may help avoid these hurdles:

How to Conduct Yourself in Oral Communication

Discipline

Employer/employee relations can be tricky. If good communication is lacking, an employee may not be aware of his or her own problem behavior until the termination interview. For the employer, poor communication can result in charges of unfair employment practices. Early communication and preventive action are preferred to the "head-in-the-sand" approach.

Reprinted from FireWatch!


Update History

This page is brought to you as a courtesy of the National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors, and was last updated on September 24, 1995.

Copyright © 1995, National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors

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