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Friday, September 3, 2010
you ever been a project manager and found yourself spending an inordinate
amount of time simply keeping the project team synchronized? Or perhaps a
department manager trying to keep all of your people gainfully employed? It
should come as no small surprise that managers probably spend at least 25% of
their time communicating with their people, regardless if the organization is
well structured and disciplined. Communications plays a significant role in
any organization, but many fail to grasp the simple complexity of
communications. Let's begin by understanding the number of lines of
communications between people. Interestingly, the number of lines of
communication grows exponentially based on the number of people involved. For
Number of People: 2
Lines of Communications: 1
Number of People: 3
Lines of Communications: 3
Number of People: 4
Lines of Communications: 6
Number of People: 5
Lines of Communications: 10
Number of People: 6
Lines of Communications: 15
If these lines of communications are not properly
maintained, the manager runs the risk of creating a "Tower of Babel" effect
whereby workers trip over each other in an uncoordinated manner and
productivity degenerates. Trouble inevitably ensues the moment a manager
cannot effectively maintain the lines of communications between his people.
The greater the size of staff, the greater the chance for a miscommunication
or interruption to occur.
To keep people rowing in unison, the manager will use
several different techniques, including: meetings, telephones, calendars,
e-mail, project schedules, prioritized "to do" lists (aka, "punch lists"),
Internet discussion groups, web pages, text messaging, memos, etc. You'll
notice a lot of this is based on the written word, which tends to be
unidirectional in nature (from one person to another), This may be useful for
a lot of things, but do not overlook the power of omni directional
communications, such as the spoken word, which is why I'm a big believer of
meetings where the workers can look the manager and each other in the eye and
It is imperative the manager create an environment where
the lines of communication can be safely maintained. This is more than a
technical issue, it is also cultural in terms of observing the proper form of
address and decorum.
A person's chances for promotion in an organization
directly depends on his/her ability to effectively communicate with other
people. Some people find this natural and can handle it easily, others cannot.
However, being cognizant of communication complexity puts you at a distinct
advantage over those who do not.
Keep the Faith!
Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their
Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of
M. Bryce & Associates
(MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the
management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-10-01 15:47:56 in Employee Articles