“Go to the horse’s mouth” is a hackneyed expression regarding direct contact. Although this may be the most expedient option, how often are we instead underhanded?
How many times do we “go around other people” in an effort to get what we think is more reliable (and error free) information? For bosses, the problem of solely relying on peer sources pollutes the communication channel. What peers express about coworkers is necessarily colored by whether they like or dislike them, their history of past interaction, whether they feel envious of their achievements (and therefore compelled to degrade them personally), and if they harbor discriminatory intent. Bias notwithstanding, it creates an atmosphere of distrust to know that your manager relies on other people to bring them tidbits about your performance.
Supervisors: if you haven’t had a face to face conversation with your workers, what are you waiting for? Clean, unfiltered data gives you a better picture of what’s transpiring, along with the potential of revitalizing neglected relations. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” may work with inanimate objects, but is a sorry excuse for sitting in your office. Bonds at work remain brittle unless they are tended with care.
As the Griggs film series argues, cultural variables may play a role in workplace comfort levels. Individuals from high power distance countries may be reluctant to express unsolicited opinion; therefore, frequent meetings in which you ask lots of questions cultivate a welcoming environment. An atmosphere of trust entails the absence of sneaking, discouraging snitching, and cherishing your constituents. It is the opening of yourself to employees who depend upon your support. Two way dialogue is thus an elixir to unlock human potential, and the gateway to engender community.