Reaching the C Suite is considered the ultimate goal of many employees working in the business world. The C suite, also known as the upper management department houses top senior executives within a company. Once you’ve reached the C Suite level, you are charged with maintaining a demanding workload and making high stakes decisions regularly.
As a member of the C Suite maintaining communication with those at lower levels of a company can become a struggle, but it doesn’t have to be. Below you will find ways in which you can improve the communication of C Suite executives with all levels of your company.
Most large companies have multiple management levels tasked with various responsibilities within the organization.
The upper management team is also known as the C Suite. It’s called the C Suite because most senior executive titles start with the letter C including…
The middle management team is composed of the heads of a division or department. They are responsible for managing other middle managers or the lower level management team. They often have the titles of director or Vice President
The lower management team oversees the daily business operations of a company. They have titles such as supervisor and office manager.
When talking with those at lower levels, you must understand what can and can’t be shared. Many conversations held at the C Suite level are sensitive in nature and are not to be revealed to those outside of the C Suite for various reasons. While you want to communicate with those outside of the C Suite on a regular basis, you want to ensure that you are not leaking sensitive information.
Those within the C Suite often utilize terminology that differs from those on lower levels. You want to refrain from using complicated verbiage and acronyms especially if you feel those in lower level positions won’t fully understand what you are referring to. Instead, use layman’s terms. You don’t want your employees to feel as though you are disconnected from them and who they truly are. One of the best ways to ostracize yourself is to communicate in a way that doesn’t connect with whom you’re having a conversation with.
Every company has its own corporate culture, and quite often various departments and company levels have their own mini company culture as well. The way things operate within the C Suite will often be different than how things are in the lower management realm. It’s crucial that you develop a general understanding of the culture that’s present in all areas of the company.
This is similar to the role of a United States President. He/she must be flexible, able to eat lunch with the ruler of a nation and a school teacher within the same week. This wouldn’t be possible without an understanding of the culture of the various people in society.
Visibility is crucial to maintaining communication with various levels of the company.
Obviously, every employee should know who you are by name and face. However, they should also have the opportunity to speak and connect with you when possible.
As the size of your company grows, that can become increasingly difficult, but it isn’t impossible.
Send newsletters to employees addressing topics that are important to them. Record video messages regarding various issues which allows you to connect in a more personable manner than a print message.
Have roundtable discussions with members of the lower levels. This is best done in a smaller group setting maybe via a brown bag lunch series or departmental meeting. When you schedule these meetings ahead of time and make them a priority, you can ensure you’re getting face to face time with those in your company to maintain visibility.
Above all else, you must develop an understanding of what’s going on on the ground floor of your company, both good and bad. Acknowledge the positives that are taking place with praise. Also, acknowledge the struggles and concerns and put steps in place with the person responsible for those issues to make necessary improvements.
You can stay connected by remaining visible. When your employees are used to seeing you and interacting with you, they are more likely to feel comfortable communicating with you about what’s going on within the company.
You can also stay connected through the use of surveys, polls, questionnaires, etc. to collect information regarding what’s working well and what’s not working well within the company.
This qualitative data is sometimes more impactful than focusing solely on quantitative metrics in business. It helps to maintain a human connection with those in the company.
Above all else remember that you are a human working with humans. Despite your title. Despite your salary. Despite the high impact career level you’ve risen to, everyone should be treated with the same respect and human connectedness across the board.
As a C Suite Executive, you have a great deal of responsibility on your plate. Maintaining strong communication skills with those in your company should remain a priority throughout your tenure.
To ensure it maintains a priority, make it a mission in your strategic planning process and revisit the progress you’re making overtime.
A strong and successful company is built from the top down, so establishing a culture with highly engaged employees who produce amazing results begins with you. A little communication can go a long way as a C Suite executive.
Culture must be created, grown, and sustained by design over the long term. Cindy is a Culture Transformation Specialist for corporations. She uses a restorative process called A.I.R.R. to elevate your company culture and bring integration between your leadership, vision, culture, and team members to enhance overall performance.