How many times have you as a leader been in a position in which your employees were unsure of what was expected of them? How many times have you or your employees wondered about goals for the future or tasks to complete, unable to find or agree on a clear answer?
If you have experienced this in the past, chances are that your workplace had very low levels of clarity. In other words, management was insufficient in communicating with their employees about the expectations, performance, and even the culture of the workplace.
Our Vistage NYC CEO and Key Executive members understand the importance of a workplace with sufficient clarity. Communication is key — and clarity is no different. Here are five ways that clarity fosters productivity in the workplace.
1. Clarity Removes Uncertainty and Misunderstanding
First off, it is important to understand what clarity is. Clarity is defined as “the state or quality of being clear.” Clarity occurs in a workplace at all times, and at all levels — from management to lower-level employees.
This means that a lack of clarity can occur at all levels. If an executive is unaware of a company’s policies, or of the direction of a specific project, how can they effectively communicate these goals to an employee? Similarly, if an employee lacks clarity regarding their role in a project or their responsibilities, how can they effectively execute these directions? Employees at all levels need to understand and be able to explain their company, their department, their responsibilities, and their goals.
According to Harris Research, almost thirteen thousand people globally were surveyed within a study conducted for Stephen Covey, of Franklin Covey. Among this study’s findings was the revelation that only 15 percent of employees surveyed could name one of their company’s top three goals. Furthermore, 51 percent of employees surveyed didn’t have a clear idea of their own role in helping to achieve the goal or understand what they needed to do.
This study demonstrates how exactly a lack of clarity among employees can be disastrous for a business. There needs to exist a certain level of understanding among all employees of a company. When a workplace has a high enough level of clarity, there is little to no room for uncertainty or misunderstanding, either among employees or between employees and management. Clarity means clear communication, which lowers the chances of confusion, hesitancy, or indecision. Clarity also reduces the risk of mistakes as a result of miscommunication, which in turn improves productivity and profitability.
2. Clarity Creates Purpose
Clarity is key in forming a productive and engaging company culture and in fostering productivity. Just like how clarity removes uncertainty and misunderstanding, it can also remove an employee’s lack of purpose. How could an employee be expected to feel passion for goals they don’t understand, or that haven’t been communicated to them?
Employees within an organization with clear directions feel more comfortable in their workplace, and have more of a drive to complete their goals. Once an employee understands and can explain their duties and goals within an organization, they are much more likely to identify with those goals. Clarity removes this misunderstanding and replaces it with both individual and collective purpose. It is in this regard that clarity relates to the idea of a great and worthy purpose, or a noble cause, which is invaluable in fostering productivity in the workplace.
3. Clarity Increases Morale
When management is clear with employees regarding all expectations and goals, and when purpose is shared between employees at all levels, morale improves overall. This is because employees are more comfortable with asking questions, receiving feedback, and clarifying any issues they may have, leading to them feeling more like a part of the team.
This fosters productivity in a number of ways, but primarily because the employees of an organization are genuinely interested in the work they are doing. When employees feel they are being communicated to, both completely and honestly, they feel that they are a valued member of the organization, something which is key to both its survival and its success. This leads to a sense of mutual respect, trust, and appreciation between employees and management. The future of a company depends on its employees, and therefore the future of a company depends on clarity.
4. Clarity Allows for More Accurate Measurements
According to the study by Harris Research mentioned earlier, it was also revealed that 81 percent of employees were not being held accountable for regular progress. This is because of a lack of clarity.
A lack of clarity affects all things — from a lack of direction, to a lack of execution, to a lack of accountability. If there existed clarity regarding measurements of progress, employees would be held accountable and recognized for their achievements in all aspects of a project.
These measurements do not necessarily need to relate to financials. Though finances are typically the easiest figures to measure, other aspects of progress can be measured once your organization has a sufficient level of clarity. No matter the figure your company measures, it is crucial that these numbers are being communicated to the employees. Otherwise, you risk a lack of clarity.
5. Clarity Strengthens Workplace Relationships
As mentioned earlier, clarity can affect all levels of a company. A lack of clarity can weaken relationships, through discomfort and a lack of trust. On the other hand, sufficient clarity in a workplace can strengthen relationships between all employees, and increase confidence in not only the organization as a whole, but also in its leaders.
By communicating to employees clearly and effectively regarding goals and expectations of the company, CEOs and key executives can improve their leadership skills. When there is no room for uncertainty or misunderstanding, an opportunity for a leader emerges. It is then that business leaders can utilize clarity to their advantage.
A lack of clarity in the workplace can make the culture of a company uncomfortable, and can make employees feel confused and distrusting. However, by expressing goals and expectations clearly, and ensuring that all employees have a firm understanding of their responsibilities, CEOs and key executives can correct any issues regarding clarity within their company.
Clarity has been shown to remove uncertainty and misunderstanding, create purpose, increase morale, allow for more accurate measurements of employee performance and success, and strengthen workplace relationships. It is for these reasons that clarity is important in fostering productivity in the workplace. With the help of Mark Taylor’s Vistage NYC groups, there is no reason you can’t achieve a productive level of clarity within your own organization.