Managers Benefit From Open Communication

I recently asked a group of trusted readers their perspective of the magazine — what they liked and where they thought we could improve. And I asked them not to sugarcoat it. I was looking for constructive criticism that I could use to continue being a great resource to the readers, and they gave it to me. 

We were able to sit down and have a great discussion about technologies, industry trends, management struggles and almost everything between. It was an opportunity for some valuable face-time with open and honest discussions.

I’ll admit, putting yourself in a position like this makes you very vulnerable, but it also presents a great opportunity for improvement and growth. You have to be prepared to hear both the good and the bad. It’s also important to stay open-minded, and be willing to sit back and just listen.

I held face-to-face meetings, which tend to be more constructive. Naturally, most people don’t like hurting your feelings when you’re sitting next to them, so you get more praise. That’s always nice, but I’ve realized that I’m actually better at taking the criticism. As I explained to the group, I can be pretty competitive, so I look at critiques as opportunities to be better.

These face-to-face opportunities, I’ve learned, are quite rare for most of my readers. Increased job responsibilities, shifting schedules and added workloads make sitting still for any length of time a challenge. But the benefits gleaned from meetings like this can be invaluable.

Not to add more to your plate, but I encourage managers to schedule sit-downs with their management teams, cleaning staff members and even a few key building occupants. Encouraging open and honest communication will invite a certain amount of criticism (so be ready for it), but it can also present the opportunity for positive suggestions and process improvements. At the very least, it encourages an environment where communication — both good and bad — is welcome.

During these meetings, sit back, listen, and be open to what is being shared. Then, use what you’ve learned to build an even better department.