There are “vaccines” that you can apply in your business to prevent gossip, misunderstandings and double messages from taking over the work environment.
The opinions expressed by employees are personal.
We all know that one of the most insistent and possibly more complex problems to solve is that of bad or defective communication in our company . Thus, examples of all kinds appear: “They didn't let me know”; “The boss never finds out anything”; “They say one thing but then do the opposite,” or, “They told me we were moving to a bigger place and in the end nothing happened,” just to name a few.
In my experience, I find that the most powerful enemies of good communication are three: Rumors, Double messages and Misunderstandings. And if I had to group these species of “bacteria”, it would not be risky to say that together they make up “The communicational plague.”
About the first “bacteria”, the rumors could be defined as perceptions that spread as observable realities but at the same time impossible to be verified. To continue with the metaphor, analyzing its molecular structure, I say that its ability to infect quickly is due to the fact that it has a rational component of likelihood (it is credible) and has an emotional aspect capable of impacting the intimate fibers of the listener, to such an extent which generates the need to transmit it to a third party. As you show: “It seems that if we do not raise the level of sales, they will fire someone”; “I heard that a new boss with a dog character is coming” or “There is a financial breakdown and it is not known if they will be able to pay the bonuses.”
Then there are the double messages . Their DNA indicates that they are made up of two opposite chains of each other, but, attention !, one is what is said and another is what is heard. Who emits this particular message, determines in the listener a direct discomfort because what he hears is totally different from what the other said and therefore, does not know what to pay attention to: yes to the words or the intention of his interlocutor. A classic example of this would be that of the supervisor telling his collaborator: “Do the work as you wish, that in the end we will evaluate it for the results”. If the employee knows that this boss is more authoritarian than a democrat, he will understand such a message as the opposite: “If you do it your way, you should stick to the consequences.”
Third, but not the most benign of bacteria, the misunderstandings . Here, one can never be one hundred percent sure that, indeed, there were no bad intentions of either party and that both stumbled so to speak. Someone speaks and the other understands something different. For example, a co-worker tells you: “I need you to tell the new one (referring to Juan) to stop being late on Mondays.” You call Francisco's attention, making a mistake as a person, because you don't know that Juan entered a month after Francisco. Another example is when the boss sends an email saying: “Today's meeting will only be with the Sales area staff.” At the time of attending it, he is upset because there are very few people. He asks the cause of it, and they answer that the analysts did not attend because they understood that they belong to the administration area and not sales.
Before the advance of these diseases, I propose three effective antibiotics and with the certain capacity to cancel these bacteria:
1. Analog: We do not neglect these methods as old because they continue to demonstrate their full validity. With this name I mention the billboards, bulletin boards and all kinds of internal publications.
2. Next, I suggest prescribing Digital “medicines”. The engagement power of social networks is clear and verifiable on a daily basis. Let's take advantage of it and use them in our favor, communicating clearly what the company wants its employees to know. Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp groups are in the lead.
3. Finally, what I call Conversational “remedies”, whose healing capacity lies in face-to-face meetings between people. Thus, work breakfasts and meetings (formal or not) provide a privileged scenario for transparent, honest and assertive communication to find the appropriate framework to develop. We are human and we need the warm nuance of the dialogue that the previous tools lack. Let's meet with the staff and say frankly what the Company indicates and the employees need to know.
In summary, if we want to become true Health Agents for a healthy Organizational Communication, we will need to constantly get involved and generate these mechanisms, essential to prevent the emergence of these epidemics.