Commo tips offered by IG

| April 17, 2015 | 0 Comments


Col. Mary E. Abrams
Inspector General
U.S. Army Pacific Command


According to Army Doctrine Reference Publication 22-2, “Army Leadership,” competent leaders know themselves, the mission and the message.

If that is the case, why is there so much confusion and miscommunication?

Leaders owe it to their organizations and their Soldiers to share information that directly applies to their duties. They should provide information that gives context and purpose. Additionally, sharing of information may prepare Soldiers for future duties and greater responsibility.

Leaders keep their organizations informed because it builds trust. Shared information helps relieve stress and control rumors. Timely information exchange allows team members to determine requirements and adjust to changing circumstances.

Informing Soldiers of a decision and the supporting reasons shows appreciation and conveys the need for their support and input. Good information flow ensures that the next leader in the chain is sufficiently prepared to take over, if required. The idea is to ensure that the Soldier clearly understands the leader’s vision.

Leaders use a variety of means to share information: Face-to-face talks, written and verbal orders, running estimates and plans, published memos, email, websites, social media and newsletters.

When communicating to share information, the leader must acknowledge two critical factors: A leader is responsible for making sure his or her team understands the information being disseminated, and a leader must ensure that communication is not limited to the traditional chain of command, but often includes lateral and vertical support networks.

The greater use and availability of email, websites and social media have increased the access and speed of information. Leaders, Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians need to be aware of overloading information and must ensure accurate information is conveyed with a good follow up.

Although electronic means of sharing data has made it easier, the leader needs to conduct face-to-face talks with subordinates to ensure they fully understand the mission or information and to receive feedback.

Tips for disseminating information

Follow these tips to distribute data:

•Limit your message list: Nothing is more frustrating than being copied on an email chain about a topic that doesn’t concern you. Abuse of the “copy all” function reduces productivity, creates confusion and eventually causes receivers to disregard important communications because they no longer have the time to filter relevant information from the avalanche of information overflowing from their in-boxes.

•Give frequent updates: It’s easy to lose perspective when managing several tasks and projects. Schedule daily, weekly or monthly summaries of work in progress in order to keep superiors, co-workers and subordinates up-to-date and aware of changes that may affect them.

•Always follow up: Never assume that an electronic message has been received. Digital information can be lost in transmission or accidentally deleted by the person receiving it. Make a habit of regularly following up on important communications.

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Category: Leadership

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