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“Organizations are designed in ways that communication flows down the chain of command top down down in very. Few instances are there systems in place to make sure that bottom communication. Happens effectively and there s a huge advantage to doing this properly. So let s unpack it uplifting music hello again friends.
I m alex lyon. And if we haven t met yet this channel communication coach is here to help rising leaders increase your impact so you can lead your teams to higher levels of excellence. I m talking about frontline leaders like team leaders supervisors and managers. This channel is for you and today s topic is communication that balance between top down versus bottom up communication.
I write about this in my new book in a couple of the chapters. It s really a critical notion to get our heads around so the first thing. I wanna say is that most organizations are designed through and through so that communication goes from top to bottom. We call this a hierarchy or a chain of command.
It s modeled after a military design. And that s the way. It is built so in almost every case. Unless you work really hard to do something different.
That s the way information is going to flow now. It s true that as leaders you re probably gonna hear a lot of people griping and complaining. But that s usually not high quality information that you can do anything about that s just human nature. What we don t often have is information going up the chain of command in a really reliable way.
So there are some obstacles to explain why this doesn t happen in a normal chain of command situation. The first one is the psychological contract that bisel messersmith and kelley talk about in their research. When we come to work supervisors. Expect to issue the orders and employees expect this too so there s a relationship that we assume about the workplace.
When we arrive and for that reason alone a lot of times. We don t feel as employees that it s our job to pass up information. So we often don t we keep our mouths shut. The second major obstacle is fear you might sour your relationship with the boss.
You might have that fear so. If you tell the boss. Something maybe he or she feels connected to that project so they feel personally criticized if you share that it s one of the reasons. Why employees don t wanna tell the boss.
Some negative information. Another one is fear that you might be labeled as a trouble maker someone that s going to rock the boat. Oh. That s that person complaining again and then a third fear of course is retaliation.
One of the whole reasons. We have an expression like don t shoot the messenger is because oftentimes when people share information people. Criticize and discredit you and we do shoot the messenger. So those are some of the reasons.
Why we don t pass information naturally up the chain of command and the third thing. I wanna talk about is the result. The result of this is that the decision makers in the organization. Often are out of touch with the day to day operations of the frontline employees supervisors and managers.
They don t have good information from that level of the organization. And that s a level of organization that s doing almost all of the work with clients and customers so they have incredibly valuable. Intel and insight and feedback. But there s really often no channel to pass it upward and then the leaders make these decisions and everybody seems mystified like why in the world would we wanna do that that s a horrible idea so the benefit of upward communication is better decision making intel.
And i really believe that leaders of the future need to take upward communication seriously in my book i recommend developing what i call dedicated channels for upward communication and i m not going to go into all the details maybe we ll do that in a different video. But you want to do regular employee surveys and then when you get the results you have to take action based upon those results. You can t just put it in a drawer. And say oh well we ll do it again in six months and see if it s changed you can also do focus groups around particular issues to really dig into it there are a lot of ways to do this well to develop upward communication.
And so i think the main bottom line here is that left on it s own the hierarchy will let information flow down. But you have to develop dedicated channels to pass good information up the chain of command to get this equation in a little bit more of a balance to develop a healthier. More effective workplace. So question of the day have you ever had experiences where you ve tried to pass information up and it didn t go all that well i would love to hear your comments in that section below so thanks god bless and i ll see you in the next video.
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Effective workplace communication skills require a balance of downward communication or top-down and upward or bottom-up communication. This video looks at this balance of communication in organizations.
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Organizational hierarchies are designed for downward communication. Leaders have to develop dedicated channels to make sure reliable upward communication and feedback reaches them. Organizational communication works best when top-down and bottom-up communication have more balance.
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