Fostering Communications Between IT and Non-Tech Employees

Across all job titles, regions, and industries, the communication happening between IT and their non-IT coworkers is often described as insufficient. And according to a recent Executive Council benchmark survey, only four out of 100 IT leaders believe they are effectively communicating with their non-IT coworkers.

The reason for this issue is due to an absence of effective communication, trust and a cohesive vision within the organization. Reports show that many IT departments are unsatisfied with executive leadership decisions regarding the company’s digital strategies and innovation processes.

Clearly there is a major communication problem within business information technology, but what exactly can companies do to fix it? Some communication tips to battle the problem include:

#1: Train them on the ENTIRE business

Don’t let IT leaders become isolated “techies” within the organization. They should have a true understanding of the perspective of all roles and parts of the business. Having a cohesive understanding helps them to gain an understanding of why certain business decisions are made so they can effectively implement the changes needed. Allow IT professionals to job shadow in the various departments of the business, and if needed, rearrange the teams or floor plans to establish convergence.

#2: Educate About Stakeholders

IT decisions made during projects are often the result of the needs of the stakeholders rather than some leadership positions or other departments. If you educate your IT leaders on who these people are as well as why their decisions are important or needed, they will likely respond more effectively to why certain changes are happening.

#3 Encourage Normal Language

IT professionals seem to unintentionally create their own language that’s cluttered with technical jargon and acronyms that other departments simply don’t understand. IT leaders need to make a continuous effort to simplify their conversations and eliminate the use of confusing acronyms.

#4 Insert Metrics into Discussions

IT leaders love metrics, so it’s a great tool to use to drive a conversation with someone with a more technical brain. During the right time, this can be a powerful tool to help make conversations easier and more effective.

#5 Outsource When Needed

If communication issues are holding your IT department back, don’t be afraid to look for some help from an expert. Outsourcing the help of an IT Communications Director can implement processes and tools to enhance the business information technology communication. Using an expert can also help to identify the nuances that are hindering your specific organization’s communication process and provide realistic suggestions on how to improve on it.

IT leaders of today simply must be willing to work through and discuss the complexities of the digital world with effective communication. Doing so helps the organization solidify strategies, expand abilities and ultimately, encourages growth.  Additionally, improving the communication between IT and the rest of the business helps the entire organization understand their digital processes, growth goals and the future plans of the business, which is beneficial for all.

Communication for Better Leadership

When you meet an exceptional communicator, you usually know it within seconds of talking with that person. They radiate a confidence about their message that typically resonates with you. From the tone they speak with to the body language they use, it is clear they have dedicated time and energy into making sure their words are heard and better yet, that those words inspire action from those they are speaking to. So, what’s the secret to becoming a great business communicator? It starts with focusing on a few key business communication solutions, including:

Always Consider Your Audience

Walking into a room full of people who are eager to hear what you have to say means scaling back on trying to sound like an expert or bragging about your accomplishments or expertise. Truly understanding your audience means knowing what that audience wants and providing them with quality information they can actually do something with. A word of caution though, this doesn’t mean simply telling your audience exactly what you think they want to hear, you need to be honest and thorough, even if it means the content they receive isn’t exactly what they had hoped for.

Open Ears Creates an Open Mind

Excellent business communicators know how to use their ears, too. Communicating is a two-way process and great leaders know that often what they hear from others is more important than anything they may have to say. Great communicators don’t interrupt or try to formulate what they are going to say next before the other person has finished speaking, they wait until the other person stops speaking so they can fully process the other perspective.

Take Responsibility for Your Words

When a great communicator says something wrong, they admit it. They aren’t waiting around for someone to point out what they did wrong, they take ownership of it before it becomes a distraction from the rest of the information they are trying to convey. Accountability is important for both the words used as well as the actions taken. This is true even if it would have been easier to not point out the error at all. Also, when a great communicator admits a mistake, they do it with humility and tact.

Ask for Feedback

Experienced communicators know that there is always room for improvement, so they are constantly asking for feedback (both positive and negative) to learn and grow from. They verify their message was understood by the audience and they humbly accept suggestions as to how that message could have been conveyed more clearly. They also never blame an audience for the lack of understanding, but they adjust their message to better meet the needs of their audience.

One of the main similarities between all great communicators is their ability to be honest and authentic with others. They value the importance of communication in the workplace and with an audience and because of this, they excel in many other areas of leadership.