Communication boosts business

COMMUNICATION can be the difference between good and poor performance.

University of Western Australia Graduate School of Management lecturer Tim Mazzarol said the effectiveness of most leaders came from their ability to communicate their ideas to their subordinates.

“I was talking to a fellow who had a small transport company about the need to speak openly with employees,” he said.

“He wrote his staff a letter talking about himself, saying ‘this is who I am, this is how I started the business, this is how many kids I have’ and things like that.

“He said that, after the letter, the company’s culture started to change. People who had only seen him as the boss started to relate to him better. He told me the noticeable outcome from this was that the company became ‘tighter’.

“Often managers keep information to themselves out of power or fear. But if they don’t share that information the chances of the company going anywhere are reduced.”

Dr Mazzarol said the key to this sort of confidence was self confidence.

“There has to be a lot of spade work done on the inner-manager before you can look at the outside world,” he said.

Australian Graduate School of Management Accelerated Development Program director Anne Lytle said managers who did not understand their impact on people or know how to manage good workplace relations could be a major cause of stress in the workplace.

According to a 2001 study quoted in the Leadership and Organisation Development Journal, work-related illnesses in Australia cost $15 billion a year in compensation claims, reduced productivity, absenteeism, added health insurance premiums and direct medical expenses.

Dr Lytle said managers needed to see the impact they had on their team.

“It is all about understanding yourself, understanding people and being able to get on with them,” she said.

“Managers with the right level of self insight have a better understanding of their bad habits, how these habits affect other people and how to take preventative action.”

p Next week WA Business News begins a four-part series on leadership training.

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