Development Cooperation Handbook/Communication Skills/Encouraging Openness
Openness Openness refers to the transparent disclosure of information, including negative information and the sharing of feelings and opinions regarding the organization and its activities. Transparent communication in terms of expressing your ideas and feelings through verbal channels in organizations has led to higher production and better performance within the organization. (However, simply “showing” feelings and not discussing them openly, is viewed as dysfunctional and can be very counter productive.)
There are several things that can be done to improve openness within the organization. To encourage openness:
- Establish Two-Way Communication. Establish genuine two-way communication within the ranks of management, between management and employees, and among employees themselves.
- mprove Accessibility. Improve management’s accessibility to employees especially in terms of listening. People will be more open if they feel they have a non-judgmental, trustworthy audience.
- Establish a Welcoming Climate. Establish a climate that welcomes the new and the different and be open to hearing all ideas.
- ·Reward Creativity. Offer obvious and visible benefits for both employees and management who have shared creative new ideas.
- Solicit and Accept Criticism. Be open to and accept criticism without becoming defensive (we all have room for improvement here).
- Show Genuine Sensitivity. Show a genuine sensitivity to employees and a willingness to grapple with employee problems and difficulties.
Remember, if employees perceive your organizations climate as weak, then it is likely that the communication climate within the organization will also be poor. Both organizational and communication climate influence how employees handle important organizational information. If the climate is strong and positive, employees are more inclined to pass along organizational messages in more positive and effective ways. Additionally, as we have seen, a positive communication climate fosters employee motivation, commitment, and productivity.
The second critical element of being an effective communicator/motivator is promoting understanding. Promoting understand includes how information is disseminated throughout the organization, but begins with listening.