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Why is Open Communication a Good Thing?

Updated on November 29, 2013

A Good Policy to Follow

Don't Be Secretive

There's a difficult decision to make on the job, whether dealing with superiors at work or establishing a relationship with a new employer, concerning how much to tell the people and how much not to say. It's natural sometimes to reserve certain information until later, but when a close working relationship is vital, open and free flowing communications are the best policy.

In a situation where it would be distracting to a boss or new employer to learn of some information immediately after a decision was made, the stress of deciding what to do becomes greater than normal because we hesitate to say or do anything that will break the flow of a process that's already in place.

For example, if someone is hired into a new position but realizes that he or she has a previously scheduled trip that makes it impossible to complete work assignments next month, should the newly hired worker immediately inform the employer of this?

It's logical to assume in that situation that the employer would want to know these things as soon as possible because future planning would hinge on it. If the employee was being hired only as a temporary worker, it might be best to say nothing. But if a permanent working relationship has been formed, it's best to get all information out in the open for the sake of being considerate of one's employer.

Some discretion should be used, however. In disclosing the information, it's best not to go into too much detail that will be irrelevant to the work at hand, unless the employer asks for more detail. In the example given, it would be best just to inform the employer of the scheduled trip dates. This will help build a relationship of trust from the very beginning.

You probably won't want to go into detail because there's no reason to embarrass yourself or make the employer feel they are invading your privacy. Don't blurt out personal information that's irrelevant to the job. If the employer asks in order to be friendly, then this would be a further opportunity for trust and establishing a good working relation.

Try to give only enough information that would be sufficient for an informed decision on the part of the employer, for example as to how to handle a situation in which a substitute will be needed to cover for you during your temporary absence.

Another aspect in keeping people informed is the way in which you communicate information. This will show your intelligence and consideration. A vital communication should be made in person or by phone, so as to give the other party a chance to ask questions or respond immediately. Less urgent matters can be communicated by email.

A happy medium has to be struck between being too long-winded or, on the other hand, too brief and not elaborating enough. This is a test of your intelligence in each specific situation that may arise.

Always keep in mind the position the other party will be placed in, as a result of learning the information being communicated. The other party will be making a decision, so it's best to help with that decision by informing the person about only the relevant matters.

Making a clear communication is essential in all aspects of business or employment. Clarity will show your competence and consideration.

These are the ethical considerations that go into forming and preserving good working relationships between people on the job.

Discretion must be used to make a wise choice between being too personal, or possibly being too secretive. But at work, we usually have to be open to communication and not too isolated. Therefore, it's best to err on the side of personal rather than secretive.

The reason communications and keeping others informed are stressful is that they demonstrate our attitude toward the job. We must, therefore, have the courage to make the right communication at the right time, or at least try to succeed in doing so.

Of course there will be worries about the impact of the communication and any result flowing from that. But this is the chance we must take in order to survive financially and socially.

Once a working relationship exists in a company or an independent contractor situation, there has to be an ethical trust between the people involved. Information must flow in order for superiors to make informed judgments leading to the success of the work being done. But if everyone values the job and the good of the tasks at hand, this close working spirit should help to iron out any problems with communications.

Keeping people informed of your progress on a project at work, for example, is a vital tool in helping others to plan. Often others are waiting for you to complete your work before they can start on their part of the project.

It's embarrassing to admit that someone is not able to finish his or her part of the project on time, however it's far worse to avoid keeping others informed of this when it becomes apparent that you will not have the work done on time according to schedule.

A friendly, caring working relationship demands that we keep people informed. Communication has to be open between coworkers, whether they are managers or newly hired trainees.

In some situations, we have to trust our instincts as to what should be said to others. For example, if a supervisor often thanks you for reminding him or her of things, then don't hesitate to do so in any situation where you think it may be necessary.

Or, if a little change occurs at work, do not think it's insignificant if your intuition tells you that it may be important. Communication would work wonders if a seemingly small detail later becomes essential to the success of a project.

Most managers are extremely busy with several projects simultaneously. Reminders are not inappropriate, therefore. It works the other way around as well. Employees have to be kept informed of future plans or else they will lose faith in their employer.

Enlightening people as to information that seems important to you is the best policy in a working environment. Bad decisions are made when people don't have all the information they need. Good decisions come from consideration of all data that is relevant.

Holding back information retards the growth of a company or the work relations among people. If a manager does this, employees will consider him or her too egotistical to communicate with them. If an employee does it, managers will consider him or her secretive and not worthy of their trust.

So it's better to give information if you have it. This is because trusting others and trusting yourself are good paths to take, leading to successful work.

Opening Up at Work

Every Employee is Valuable

On the job, everyone is doing something important, otherwise she or he wouldn't be employed because companies can't afford to waste money.

In order for management to assess situations properly, accurate information is needed, some of which must come from employees. There is no fault in having a warm and close working culture in a company, which will foster communication and allow workers to speak up with suggestions.

Working closely together, management and employees can improve a company economically. But where communication doesn't flow properly, these advantages are lost. Sharing suggestions, therefore, is a positive thing in an organization.

But how can people communicate better at work? First of all, communication is a skill that often has to be learned. It's difficult to open up at work sometimes. In order to make a constructive comment, for example, a person has to listen carefully to the details of a problem before opening his or her mouth to offer suggestions.

Subtle indications will show when a comment is needed or appropriate. Remarks can be made in many ways, through email, in person, or by phone. But a positive sounding remark that's not completely critical or negative almost always will be welcome.

Although communication is a good thing, the discipline of the workplace always should be respected. When bad language is used or informal intimacy becomes disrespectful, this is not a businesslike approach and could lead to morale and discipline problems hurting the company.

People should strive to use proper language and grammar in their business communications. No one is perfect in this regard, but making an effort will help make communication a positive experience for the good of all concerned.

Therefore, there's no crime in putting in your two cents worth, especially when you don't know when this could be just the right time and place to do so.


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    • neophonic profile image

      Jakub Dubec 5 years ago from Europe

      I always had a problem with it. The good thing is, i can be better! :)