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Use performance reviews as a method of letting your people know where they are doing well and where they need to improve. This is a very legal, highly controlled method of communicating with your people (or your boss) and must be done correctly to be effective. One golden rule of reviews is nothing should ever be a surprise to employee. If a person is not doing well, he must know about it long before review so he has a chance to correct his mistakes.
Another rule of mine is that all critical comments must be done in private, one on one (unless there are legal reasons, such as a reprimand for sexual harassment, for witnesses). Never give reprimands, no matter how minor, in a public location. Conversely, it's great to give positive remarks and reinforcement in public - in fact, generally more public better.
Remember that communication is very powerful, and used properly it, combined with your knowledge, talents and abilities, can propel you up corporate ladder.
On other hand, when used improperly you will certainly succeed in stalling your career. Use communication very poorly and you may find yourself jobless in short order.
If you use your emails to cover your behind, you will soon find it is exposed and ready to be kicked. If you try and sling mud at others around you, it's very possible you will find yourself not only covered in mud, but even tarred and feathered.
For example, I had a boss a number of years ago who thought main purpose of email was to ensure that everyone understood whatever had gone wrong was someone else's fault. I remember on several occasions our department had failed to provide service to users, and our boss had us write emails that went on for pages, patiently explaining how these failures were fault of someone else. My god, we all got so tired of protecting our bosses behind. In fact, when he finally left company, we felt such a feeling of relief that it was amusing.
This same man is a great example at how a lack of communication can doom a person. He tried to build a wall between our department and rest of company. All communications between our group and outside world had to be approved by him, and he often insisted on performing communication himself. Thus, it became impossible for any of us to do our job - and it became very difficult for anyone in department to understand how they fit into overall company business.
So to sum it all up, what's my advice? Use communication to your advantage. Ensure your boss knows that you want to contribute to success of group and, more importantly, that he completely understands how valuable you can be. Use communication to give positive feedback and to let everyone know your commitments and understandings, as well as other areas in which you could be helpful.
Equally important, don't abuse communications. This is a very powerful tool, and if you've ever been on wrong end of a public reprimand or subject of water-cooler gossip you understand exactly what I mean.
The managers who excel in their career have learned these lessons and apply daily to their jobs without even thinking. That's main tool of trade. Simple communication.
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at http://www.internet-tips.net - Visit our website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.