In a small company, every employee matters, that is why everyone in the team must share information about what they are doing, how are they feeling and what they are hoping. But not all people like to share and give feedback, so it's the leader's role to make them feel comfortable with it. Don't forget: the fastest way to destroy a team is to let everyone run off on different directions.
Good leaders motivate their employees. Great leaders encourage them to engage.
As John Ritchie said in Business Matters: „Effective internal communication helps ensure that all members of the organization are working collaboratively towards a common goal." The key word is „collaboration." While a lot of team members may know what's their job description, they must also understand why it matters to the company. That is the reason why they must share their work and ideas with co-workers and managers.
Collaboration is the key.
Collaboration has many advantages over "doing it yourself" style of management:
- You can share your ideas for feedback. Everybody knows that "two heads are better than one". Sharing your ideas with your team gives you feedback and new ideas. As there are always more than one way to do things, you'll discover that your coworkers and employees can sometimes save you from a dead end.
- You are forced to stop and think about what you're doing. As you have to explain your ideas to others, you must give those ideas a voice. Something that sounds good in our minds, might have flaws you wont see before speaking them aloud.
- You wont hit the a wall so easily. Especially when doing creative work, it's easy to get stuck. Collaborating and brainstorming with others helps you.
As Helen Keller has so elegantly said: "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
But as Harvard Business Review has found out: "Collaboration doesn't just occur by getting people together. You need to trigger it."
A lot of people don't like to be reviewed. And participating in internal communications may feel like being judged. Leader's job is to create a culture where constant review is not something to be afraid of but a normal routine that doesn't affect everyday mood or task completion.
The easiest way to do that is talking to people.
In a perfect world, a leader can communicate with everyone in his team, let them know, how their work affects others and what they can do better. In reality, doing this takes far too much time. In Weekdone we have developed a tool which let's us file a weekly report without taking more than 5 minutes from employees week. In addition to giving manager an overview, all employees can see what others have done, and how their work furthers company's long-term goals.
The best are online
Today the best tools for collaboration are online. Internet offers fast and easy solutions and lets us do our work on the go. We can participate in collaboration activities from our iPhones or tablets. Using these modern tools makes all internal communication tasks (including review process) more acceptable for younger generations who are used to spending most of the time online.
Online collaboration tools help to chance internal communication from a "annoying review system" into a fun game running in the background. There are many perks you can implement here: achievements, point systems etc.
Luckily, there are a lot of new tools like Basecamp, Slack or Weekdone for online collaboration. Some focus on all aspects of internal communication, others help to deliver some key perks as perfectly as possible.
The key to being a great leader is to understand what would drive your team the most.