At Legitimate Leadership we believe that the critical factor accounting for successful management-employee communication is the degree to which employees trust the source of the communication. Neither the content of the message (WHAT management says) nor the choice of medium (HOW they say it) is anywhere near as important as whether it is trusted in the first place.
When managers are trusted, individually and collectively, then what they say is generally believed and accepted. When trust in management is low, employees are suspicious of everything that management says, even if it is the truth.
Trust in management is granted or withheld on the basis of a single criterion: the degree to which employees perceive management to be in the relationship to “give” or to “take”. When managers are perceived to be pursuing their own interests, to only be in the relationship to get something out of their people, trust in them will be low. When managers are experienced as there to give or serve their people, only then will their staff be willing to give to them – because they trust that their manager has their best interests at heart.
What acting in employees’ best interest means with respect to communication is the following:
Only when management consistently delivers on these two primary information needs will they be seen as acting in their employees’ best interests.
Living up to these standards is not easy. The benefits to management, long-term, of doing so are immense, however.