The Grapevine or Immediate Supervisor as Sources of Information?

“We’ve surveyed our employees,” a manager said, “and asked them what they think their managers could do better.”

“Let me guess their Number One suggestion,” I responded.


“I’m guessing your employees wanted managers to be better communicators.”

“How did you know?”

“Communication is always Number One.”

Employees want to know anything and everything that may impact their work life, and they want to know it the instant management knows it.  However, employees’ desired sources of information are sometimes different from their actual sources. 

Research by professors Snyder and Morris in their article, “Organizational Communication and Performance,” published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, revealed that employees’ primary sources of information were immediate supervisor, the grapevine, company policies and small group meetings.

When asked how they prefer to get information, employees responded:  immediate supervisor, small group meetings, top executives and company policies.  The grapevine and social media were their least preferred sources.

Effective leaders realize that they never NOT communicate.  Failure to fully reveal changes in plans, strategies and processes spur the creation of lightening fast rumor mills.  Effective leaders spend considerable time in 1:1 and small group meetings communicating face-to-face.

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