The so called command and control model in the organizations is fast becoming extinct in today’s world and leadership conversation is slowly replacing the old model. There are many reasons for this shift, for example- the business environment today is increasingly global, diverse, fluid and unpredictable. Technological change and rise of social media have fundamentally altered the way companies interact with their customers. Because of all these dynamics, the rigidly hierarchical organizations are losing the plot to more lively and collaborative ones.
Smart leaders today interact with their sub-ordinates in a way that resembles an ordinary person-to-person conversation than commanding over them. Furthering their efforts, they also initiate practices and nurture a culture that instills a conversational sensibility throughout their organization. One of the most significant advantages of this approach is that it allows a large or growing company to function like a small one. Instead of issuing orders, talking to the employees can help them retain some qualities like operational flexibility, high levels of employee engagement and tight strategic alignment that enable start-ups to outperform better-established rivals.
Leaders who have been associated with an organization right from its inception realize the fading levels of communication as the organization keeps growing. Communication has always taken place across departments by simply looking across cubicles. Conversations are modes of communication that have the power of delivering the true message. They enable putting a point across with a casual explanation that is perceived more quickly by human beings.
Top leaders have always tried to imbibe the strategy and vision they believe in within the enterprise DNA. However, despite their efforts, a lot of these leaders have not been able to do this. The reason behind most of these failures is lack of conversation. To make your employees understand the vision; it has to be delivered regularly through multiple modes. Addressing this through a conversation is the best way and choosing a social way to communicate by having numerous streams of meaningful conversations is better than the classic mode for directives that are sent by top leaders.
There are several surveys that depict the fact that when employees suffer from low morale, they feel disengaged, less motivated and appreciated when there is lack of communication. Missing that pat on the back can be detrimental. Leaders are now realizing this fact and want to embrace technology to have conversations that are 360 degrees in dimension help improve employee morale and corporate culture and increase productivity at the same time. Enterprises are bringing in interactive tools and platforms such as ESNs that can help them achieve various goals like:
Open Corporate Culture: Establishments today are trying to break the organizational silos and hierarchical walls and develop more transparent and open cultures. They are trying to achieve this by having top down and bottom up communication with their employees.
Relationship and Trust building: This is being achieved by enabling two way communications between employees and top management. In such a culture, the employees are allowed to put forward their ideas, suggestions and feedback etc. This helps build employee trust and relationship. Interactive culture incorporates values, norms and behaviors that create a welcome space for dialogue.
Imbibe enterprise Vision and mission: The employees can better understand the mission and vision of the enterprise through effective conversations. Intense quality of engagement at all levels of an organization helps in achieving firm’s vision and mission statements.
Employee motivation: Leaders by having high level of employee engagement and appreciating their hard work can help in attaining employee motivation thereby achieving the firm’s strategic goals and the employees’ personal objectives.
Manage organizational change: High quality conversations among individuals and within organizations generate meaningful change.
Physical proximity between leaders and employees might not be feasible always of maintaining seamless communication all the time. However, mental or emotional proximity is essential. Smart leaders always find ways to use conversation to manage the flow of information in an honest and open fashion. One-way broadcast messaging is old-fashioned and has very little effect on the employees. On the other hand, communication that is intimate, interactive, inclusive and intentional will always find its audience.
Arshad Majeed is EVP, Global Delivery, Xavient Information Systems based in NOIDA