I have always found it odd that some managers strongly suggest that their employees do not stray too far away from their assigned duties. To do so would invite a variety of repercussions, up to and including termination. I once worked for one company that created a culture in which communication between departments was so restrictive that employees could receive a curt talking to if they did not follow the proper channels. What were those proper channels? Because there was, a military style hierarchy set in place one always had to observe the chain of command. Even bringing up an issue to a manager within the same department, but not your direct manager could land you on a virtual list of potential troublemakers. This seems antithetical to the current business ideal of “thinking outside the box.”

In many organizations, almost every department relies on each other for information or support in order to bring a final product or service to customers. Restricting communication between departments to only senior managers is not only counter-productive; it can lead to a literal stagnation of ideas. In these types of confined management structures, the only ideas that ever permeate the inner sanctum are those that already exist. I’m NOT suggesting some communication free-for-all where no protocols exist and anyone can reach out to anyone…. Or am I, rarely have my best ideas occurred to me during a scheduled meeting, and judging by the number of people who mentally wander away during meetings, the same could be said for many others. So why not break down a few barriers and at least provide some opportunity for department staff, at every level, to learn from each other.

The benefits of that level of open communication are that it provides employees a sense of shared decision-making and allows them a greater understanding of their role in the organizations success. In addition, business needs change quickly and many companies view contraction as a way to spur growth. Having teams of staff members who are at least comfortable within the confines of departments other than their own, will allow greater flexibility when change inevitably comes. By keeping employees boxed up within their own departments, you deny them the opportunity for personal growth; in addition, you deny the organization the benefits of fresh ideas and alternative perspectives.

~ Richard


About Richard
I have spent my entire life learning to be a better communicator in in all facets of my life. I have learned as much from my failures as I have from success; laughing, crying and loving along the way. After earning a B.S. in Communications I decided to share what I have learned while continuing my own personal growth. I believe that the better we are to each other, the richer our lives will become.

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