Picture this: There's a business where vital information is not being shared in real time because leaders don't have a firm grasp on the direction of the company. Water cooler banter leads to distrust throughout the organization. Every move management makes is suspect. Every word, gesture, and act are taken literally without any context. It's a real-life versions of Twitter.
I'm sure some researcher has a cool name for that type of office. I'll just call it, "The Place Where Hopes and Dreams Go To Die". No one wants to work in that type of office. If you think you might work in one of these organizations, here are some questions to ask:
Has leadership shared the company's goals?
How do people react when something doesn't sound right?
Can you ask follow-up questions?
Are you comfortable asking upper management for clarity?
Does your team take things at face value or do they seek context prior to acting?
Does anyone assume they misspoke and defend the individual?
Anything other than clear, supportive communication is detrimental to organizational health. You're sowing the seeds of mistrust in your company by not being transparent. If your organization has some of these traits, all is not lost. The exact process to change the culture is different for each workplace, but the steps are always the same.
1) Share your company's goals and objectives with the team. *If you're having trouble setting and achieving goals for your company I can help.
2) Managers should fight for feedback without being defensive. Just listen.
3) Every level of leadership needs to make time to answer questions from employees. If they do not know the answer, find whoever does then share it with everyone.
4) Find the informal leaders and get them to help encourage employees to ask for clarity and trust management is trying to act in a fair manner.
5) Managers should always be engaged and available.
6) Follow-up. Reassess. Repeat.
If it seems like a lot of effort, it is. It takes constant interactions to keep an organization running smoothly. This is how it is supposed to be, this is what proactive leadership looks like.