If you look at the headline above, you might assume this is another column about Sony and a lesson regarding appropriate emails in the workplace. Rather, it’s a cautionary tale that in our world of quick-trigger “tagging,” “liking” and “tweeting,” we need to stop and think about properly navigating the hierarchy of an organization and communicating appropriately.
If you fully embrace the speed with which you can share information over social media, you might be tempted to casually share information in a similar way in the workplace. But, before you do, ask yourself, “Is this my information to share within the company?”
Most businesses, no matter the size, have an organizational structure, and a key to continued growth is learning how to effectively communicate “up.” You may have mastered how to properly communicate with your direct supervisor, but it’s important to note he or she has worked hard to do exactly the same thing.
For example, your department lands a huge account and you send an email to your superior – and several levels above – to share the good news. You might receive a few kudos, but consider the potential missed opportunities. Your quick-trigger communication may have deprived your supervisor of the chance to share the exciting information with his or her boss, which can be incredibly disheartening, particularly if positive news events are few and far between. In addition, your superior was unable to provide adequate background on the project to ensure all recipients understood the countless hours of hard work and dedication that resulted in the new account…yes, you might have stolen your own thunder.
Like most everything in business, there is an appropriate process to communicating information internally. Some things are just common sense, but sometimes excitement can get the best of us. If you are uncertain about proper protocols, ask your superior. I’m sure your questions and your thoughtfulness will be much appreciated.
Robin Embry is a vice president at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Robin's blogs here. Connect with Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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