Effective Management of Health and Safety Programs: A Practical Guide, 3rd edition. Moser R Jr., ed., Berverly Farms, MA: OEM Press, 2008 Mar; :299-316
The ability to communicate effectively remains the critical management skill. As mentioned in Chapter 19 on time management, poor time management and poor communication have been, in my experience, the two leading causes of program compromise or failure. Personnel managers have repeatedly ranked oral communication skills as number 1 and written communication skills as number 2 among all the factors most important in helping business school graduates obtain jobs . These communication skills are "critical not only in obtaining a job, but also in performing effectively on the job" . Health and safety managers engage in formaI, informal, written, verbal, and nonverbal communication. How well the communication is accomplished often determines how successful an effort or program is. The manager's challenge is to ensure that communication is at the highest possible level of effectiveness. This chapter covers some basic aspects of communication, high-lighting those that have been found to be particularly important for health and safety managers. Chapters 21 and 22 contain additional information on effective communication. BASIC REQUIREMENTS: Effective written and oral communication rests on meeting a number of basic requirements. The degree to which the requirements should be met increases with the importance of the communication. If the purpose of the communication is to convey a small amount of information that minimally impacts a program, poor communication technique may not be a significant problem. Conversely, if the communication is essential in obtaining health and safety program funding, a communication failure can have disastrous results. SUMMARY: Communication is a critical, multifaceted management skill. The more effective the health and safety manager is as a communicator, the more effective the health and safery program. Other chapters underscore this fact and amplify other aspects of effective communication including meeting management, making presentations, communicating with the media, personality aspects of communicating with others, team building, and giving feedback.