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June 27, 2012 -
Today's tip from Building Operating Management: In facility management, as with any leadership position, good communication skills are essential.
That might not have been true in the past, but it certainly is true today. "The old days of the facilities person being the one who took care of the heating and cooling stuff, sort of being a mystery behind the scenes, that’s long gone," says Richard Christiano, assistant professor in the facilities planning and management program at Wentworth Institute of Technology.
One of the big complaints facing facility managers, Christiano says, is occupants wondering why they didn't know about a change before it happened. This occurs because someone in the facility department thought the change was so minor that notification would just be a nuisance and they should just go ahead. But taking that approach may well have unintended consequences. The facility manager could be making the situation that much more difficult because people are going to be on the defensive if they haven't been brought into the process.
It's almost always better for facility managers to overcommunicate rather than risk undercommunicating, say experts on communication. "I think people would rather get what they consider to be an unnecessary memo if there's some validity to it, than to not be told about something even if it's relatively minor," Christiano says.
In the end, good communication is about never making assumptions. Don't assume a message has been received just because you sent it. Don't assume that information has been understood without soliciting feedback. And don't assume that communicating is not important in the first place.
"I think, when it doubt, communicate," Christiano says.
This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.