Improving communication

This week I want to look at the importance of the middle manager within the tourism industry. Quite often managers have plans and expectations, which they expect middle management to deliver but here is the problem.

Quite often, middle management is unaware of the goals and expectations of the establishment and this is the beginning of the problem.

A few years ago while conducting research I discovered this same problem; therefore, to suggest that this is a new problem would be wrong. I believe that these same problems exist today and this could very well lead to many of the service failures in our industry.

There is no doubt that we are now operating in very difficult times. As part of the method of sustaining the business some operations now have a reduced number of staff and managers. When this happens, management is called upon to do more with less. This scenario can lead to the perception that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.

When top management feels overwhelmed, they often fail to communicate effectively or at all. Communication failures often lead to confusion at the middle management level where most of the service execution is expected to occur. This even goes a bit further; as confusion sets in at the middle management level, greater confusion takes place at the line-employee level and results in poor service delivery.

The question therefore is how to avoid or overcome this very dangerous situation. After all the true impact of poor customer service is reduced business and poor returns, something that we can ill-afford.

The first step I suggest therefore is being aware. Being aware that poor communication leads to poor service delivery should help to keep communication as a tool at the front of business model. Secondly, acknowledge that service delivery is one of the keys to business success.

Knowing that service delivery is largely dependent on the strength of the middle management and the information transferred to the line-staff will prevent many of the mistakes that we make as managers as it relates to our communication with our middle management.

If we accept that service quality, and service delivery is heavily dependent on our middle management and the information shared with them, then our priorities in terms of our communication may change.

Do not get me wrong, every employee is important in every business. The point I am hoping to get over here today is that there needs to be a bridge between those that generate the ideas and those that deliver upon the promises of these same ideas. That bridge in my opinion lies with middle management.

I recently heard a report that suggests that the majority of employees feel disconnected from their place of employment. I would like to offer a suggestion — strengthening the information flow between employee and management through the empowering of the middle management is a good first step.

Tourism is our business, let’s play our part.

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