This is just a quick post to get you thinking. Messages from management and staff, be they notices or emails, are an important communication channel that can bring you closer to your staff and create a team spirit. However, if they are written badly, they can put distance between colleagues of different levels. The days of ‘top-down, us and them’ management are pretty much over, but do your messages reflect this?

You probably speak to those you supervise in a friendly, we’re-all-on-the-same-team kind of way, with a friendly hand on the shoulder and a personal, “Can you help me out and do this for me?” Notices and other messages should be the same, using the same, equal-level words. One particular message brought this whole subject to my mind the other day. It was to do with front-line, customer service dress codes and although it was trying to be friendly, the choice of words created distance.

The notice read: “Please make sure that shirts and trousers are cleaned and neatly pressed.” The writer has fallen into the trap of using the ‘official’ language of notices – he or she would not say this to a friend. This may seem like a small thing, but look at the message itself. Even the supervisors themselves do not have their clothes cleaned and pressed, they wash and iron them like the rest of us. Only the very top people get their laundry ‘done’. Are you one of these top people? Or are you actually a member of the team?