The difference between a mediocre manager and an effective one often boils down to communication. Specifically, a lack of transparency from the executive suites down to entry level employees gets at the heart of problem.
Consider, for example, the results of a 2009 workplace satisfaction survey among federal agencies, including NASA, the State Department, Homeland Security and the Transportation Department. Barely half of the 212,000 employees polled said they were satisfied with the quality and consistency of information they receive from management [source: Vogel]. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which had the happiest employees in the survey, attributed its organizational success to senior leaders' stellar communication skills [source: Vogel]. That trait outranked salary and benefits in terms of importance to the federal employees.
The onus of effective communication doesn't rest solely on the shoulders of the chief executives, however. Business research repeatedly underscores the important role of the middle mangers in building an open and honest rapport with employees. This goes beyond regurgitating the company line, which employees can usually spot as easily as an elephant in a driveway [source: Boyle]. Managers can't be afraid to field questions and must remain straightforward about what can be addressed [source: Mazin].
In short, communication gets at the core of employee engagement.