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CEO Communication Gap: More Info, Less Criticism, Please

CEO Communication Gap: More Info, Less Criticism, Please
There is a disconnect between CEOs and their employees over communication. / Credit: CEO image via Shutterstock

When it comes to how they lead their companies, CEOs aren't on the same page with their employees, new research reveals.

One example of this disconnect is in how often top executives communicate with those who work under them, according to the study from the cloud-based executive-management platform provider Domo and

While more than three-quarters of the executives and general employees surveyed said they would like to receive communications from their CEOs at least monthly, just 55 percent of those running a company actually live up to those standards.

The research also found that although 84 percent of CEOs said they never use company meetings to reprimand employees, 10 percent of employees and executives said that blame and scolding are all they hear from their CEO.

Overall, executives are much more critical of their CEOs' communication style than are general employees. The study revealed that executives are twice as likely to say their CEO always focuses on negatives or never focuses on positives when communicating with the company.

Josh James, founder and CEO of Domo, said that being a great business leader isn't simply about product development or corporate finance, but also effective communication. The study shows that employees want to hear from those who are in charge and be inspired by them, he said.

"In today's social world, there are so many ways to effectively communicate with your employees beyond the typical company meeting — whether through a blog, video, Twitter, email, etc.," James said. "If you're not leveraging multiple channels to get your message across and instill vision, you're missing an opportunity to connect with your employees and drive the business forward."

Even though the majority of those surveyed said fear is not an effective motivational tool, CEOs rely on it more than they think. The researchers discovered that while only 10 percent of CEOs claim to use fear as a motivator, executives rank fear as the No. 1 motivational tool of their chief executive.

Overall, both executives and general employees think that instilling vision is the most effective motivational strategy, and fear ranked dead last.

The research isn't all bad for CEOs. The study found that 87 percent of executives think their CEOs respect their opinions, and more than two-thirds are comfortable going to the CEO with an idea. Additionally, executives find their CEOs to be quite responsive, with 69 percent saying they receive email replies from them within a day.

Furthermore, 60 percent of the executives surveyed chose positive adjectives — such as "intelligent," "nice," "honest," "competent," "visionary" and "hardworking" — to describe their CEO.

The study was based on surveys of 1,500 CEOs, executives and general employees from companies across a wide range of industries.

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.