It's a well-trodden truth. We need to keep pace with the digital world and accept that communication is faster and flatter than ever. It's both exciting and exposing. It makes communication, weirdly, easier and harder. We're all savvier consumers of communication than before. We have more technology in our pocket than was thinkable even a decade ago. We access information in seconds and expect a similar type of communication experience in work. We're a tough audience, us employees!
But, let's not forget, that nothing replaces a proper conversation about what you're working on, things you're enjoying and the challenges you're facing. It's no secret that people's relationship with their line manager has a huge influence on the way they feel about their job so why aren't we training more managers to be better communicators? Digital is an 'as well as' from my perspective, not an 'instead of'.
In Gatehouse's State of the Sector 2016, we learnt that less than a third of internal communicators will be prioritising improving line manager communication skills in 2016, even though it's the single biggest barrier to success for most. I just don't get it. If it's getting in our way that much, let's do all we can to change it.
Managers will always be the most important comms channel out there but are we giving them the right support to do their thing well? I fear not. Can they build rapport with ease? Can they have proper performance conversations? Can they cascade leadership messages in a meaningful way without meaning seeping and skepticism rising? Do they even know that communication is their job?
As we keep striving for better communication in our workplaces, don't forget the men and women in the middle, doing arguably the toughest comms job in the organisation.