Last month we spoke about the importance of communication skills for leaders. There is no arguing the fact that communication is important. Communication is one area in which a leader can provide a great level of support for their employees. Yet, the goal of great communication seems to be the most elusive in the industry. We have interviewed hundreds of mortgage personnel through the years and almost all of them give the same response to the question: What is the greatest problem with your present company? Lack of communication! That is a pretty consistently damning response.
Why is delivering communication so difficult? Part of the reason for this is the rapidly evolving industry: program changes, technical changes, legal changes, and business changes. The industry is always mutating — sometimes very rapidly and unexpectedly — and employees sometimes feel the company has to know what is going on. Many times, we do not. If this is the case, then our employees need to know what we don’t know, as we convey to them the fact that while we don’t have the information to impart, but we will do so as soon as it is available.
This brings us to another key to great management: Honesty. Honesty includes admitting when you don’t know and having credibility so that your employees will accept this fact. Do you remember a situation when your employees were looking to you for answers on a particular event or change and you just didn’t have the information? How frustrating was this? You need to make them comfortable about the situation, regardless of the information you have.