Importance of Informal CommunicationMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
Generally management is all about processes, standard methodologies and tools etc. According to my experience, there is one important area that plays an important role in managing the team and that is “Informal Communication”.
As a Manager, you will often come across a question that if you have to make some resources work extra time to get some important work completed to meet a deadline then how would you manage that? My response is that asking for resources to work extra or even regular work is not something a Manager can do by just being assigned with a Manager role. It is something that you build towards over a period of time.
One aspect of being a successful manager is that you have to play the role of a “father figure” to your team members. Before you can really plan or assign someone with any task, you should know about him/her as much as possible. A manager can learn about the professional capabilities of the source as he/she executes the professional assignments but in order to learn about the personality characteristics and constraints, you have to indulge in information communication with the resource.
Informal communication can be performed during a cigarette break or over a cup of coffee etc. or the manager can plan some team activity to spend casual time with the team members. That is the reason why good companies have regular team building sessions, activities and team dinner planned so that junior level resources can interact with senior members. It provides senior members, especially the manager, to learn about the resource personalities and a little about their personal lives and any constraints which might directly or indirectly affect their professional work. This information helps the manager and the management to plan around though constraints in a manner to minimize the effect of any such incident. It also allows the manager to build trust and let the resources be more open about themselves and their work.
These activities also help the junior resources to learn more about their senior colleagues by providing them an opportunity to discuss and learn about how different challenges they face, about their routine work and how they prepare for certain events or activities. Also it provides an opportunity for junior resources to realize that their seniors are humans just like them and they can achieve the same level of success or even perform better with experience and hard work.