Management & Organization

Why you have to measure your communication


Good communication creates results. That is the message from a group of Swedish researchers. If you know how to communicate effectively with your employees, it has an effect on the coworker, the group and the entire organization. There are several reasons for this.

Leadership is communication

We all know that it's important to talk to your employees and colleagues. And that they thirst for even more communication is no secret either. In fact, some management experts go as far as comparing leadership to communication:

“Leadership occurs through the process of interaction and communication.”

- Barge & Hirokawa (1989, s. 172)

Communicative leadership provides many advantages

A team of Swedish researchers from the Mittuniversitetet have studied communicative leadership and point out that a communicative leader understands how to initiate dialogue, gives and asks for feedback. Such a leader involves employees in decision processes and is considered open and present.

And according to the researchers this behavior leads to a long range of great advantages for employees:

  • Greater job satisfaction

  • Higher productivity

  • Lowered absenteeism

  • Better quality of products and services

  • Lower expenses

  • Better innovation abilities

The nearest leader is every employee’s most important channel of communication

You are your employee’s most important source of information. So the time you invest working on your communication skills can potentially have a remarkable effect on your employee’s satisfaction with how the company communicates. Especially, if you compare this to the limited effect an investment in your social media communication has or when top management communicates, because these channels of communications are located last and second to last in the hierarchy.

Measuring communication has several advantages

Additionally, the Swedish report reveals that measuring communicative leadership gives you a range of advantages:

  1. The strategic planning is eased

  2. Mapping of beliefs promote realistic assessments

  3. New information is gathered continuously

  4. A feedback process is established

  5. Standardized measurements provide guiding comparisons

  6. Members of the organization become aware of communication issues

But how do you measure communicative leadership?

The Swedish researchers gives us some tips on this. Based on different research results they've developed a method for systematically and precisely measuring the organization’s communicative leadership. They have produced 97 questions that can be used as a foundation for designing your own analysis.

You find the 97 questions at the end of their second report (in Swedish). When you design your questionnaire, the researchers' advice you to look through all questions thoroughly and consider which suit your situation. Negative questions act as control questions.