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Good internal communications makes line managers look good

Antagonistic line managers who hate people, distrust the business and have their own strategy at odds with the company’s have to be the major blocker on communication.

People can’t thrive on ‘broadcast’ comms from above all the time; they want face-to-face communications and time to express themselves and give feedback. People want to be involved with the direction of the company, and full understanding of business change and the whole strategy can only happen when a person is involved – and that means two-way comms. Conversations, as we used to call them.

C. Hopton, Bain & Co in 1994 found that:

Better communication creates better employee satisfaction.

Better communication improves perception of line manager.

Higher satisfaction reduces staff turnover.

High retention of staff creates higher customer satisfaction.

Higher customer retention equals higher profitability.

It’s that second item I want to focus on!

The cool thing about great communications is that they make line managers look good even if that manager is only passing stuff on. If they ‘pass stuff on’ with aplomb and confidence in the business, their people will rate them as a ‘good communicator’ and therefore a better manager.

If you’re a manager and want to be seen as an awesome leader, get friendly with your local Internal Communications Specialist – you may well get news early, and you can ask for help in crafting your own messages and delivering corporate messages with meaning.


Photo credit: Paul-W

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About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

5 thoughts on “Good internal communications makes line managers look good

  • Couldn’t be truer.

    I’ve been working with one of the MDs at the company and since his regular missives, presentations and town-hall meetings, his perception as a good communicator has increased (the survey last year showed higher-than-average results).

    From an IC point of view, my main struggle is with convincing managers that they should be updating their teams as often as necessary. Even the supposed ‘boring’ information is actually inspiring and motivating some people, because they become thirsty for more information on that ‘boring’ subject and engage more with the wider company.

    Just remembering a story: I told this MD that he should be presenting results and an update on the business to his department and he retorted that he was communicating ‘enough at the moment, better than the rest of the Senior team.’ My response was that he shouldn’t wait until he is #2 before stepping his game up…

  • The issue of line manager communication has long been a challenge for me–much of the research talks about “employee preference” for maximised line manager comms than any objective notion of real difference it actually makes relative to other approaches.

    Personally, you improve line manager communication by making it as easy as possible for a manager to do as little damage as possible, while at the same time recognizing that the line manager communication is the only comms some employees are exposed to. Less is more.

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