Proactive Communication

By Neil Kokemuller
Businessmen discussing in an office
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Proactive workplace communication includes strategic efforts by company leaders to share information with workers to guard against crises. It also includes the development of a collaborative and open environment where workers communicate with each other to optimize production and efficiency.

Intentional One-on-One Communication

Many companies and leaders promote what an open-door policy, which means managers make themselves accessible to employees who have needs. However, an open-door approach isn't as effective as proactive one-on-one communication, according to Robert Half, a professional staffing services agency. Many workers prefer to avoid what they view as unnecessary interaction with management, so if a manager makes a point to make his way around the office to interact with all employees periodically, he may draw out important feedback or concerns. This proactive engagement not only allows the leader to address budding problems, it can also make each worker feel more valued. Some managers struggle to deliver or receive negative information, according to employment assessment solutions provider Profiles International, an obstacle that must be overcome for proactive success.

Promoting a Proactive Culture

Proactive vertical interaction between managers and leaders is vital, but so too is proactive horizontal communication across departments or business units. Company leaders set the tone by building a culture of openness and trust. Establishing cross-functional teams or committees can also enhance problem-solving, developmental integration and coordination across an organization, reports Inc. magazine. When employees across departments collaborate in a proactive way, it helps protect against inefficiency, delays, mistakes and problems that can emerge from the lack of coordination.

Benefits of Proactive Communication

A primary benefit of proactive communication is the ability to confront problems head-on and to maintain high employee morale. Managers who take the time to praise workers proactively, and to seek input or address concerns, strengthen the value felt by workers and improve retention, according to Robert Half. Proactive communication also aligns closely with strategic planning, notes Knoll, an office and interior design company. Executive leaders often meet to set goals and strategies, and proactive communication contributes mightily to implementing strategies across the organization. Open, proactive communication can also protect against the spreading of rumors and feelings of distrust and resentment in a workforce.

Signs You Need More Proactive Communication

One of the clearest signs that your organization doesn't have a culture of proactive communication is feuding and general tension among employees, according to Profiles International. If employees feel uncomfortable approaching leaders and there is limited regular communication between a manager and his workers, proactive communication is needed. Indirect approaches -- such as email -- to sharing bad news with employees is another sign of a non-proactive communication approach. Rumors, gossip and intentional hiding of internal information are other signals that proactive communication is lacking in an organization.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.