July 2016

One of the biggest, recurring problems in any workplace is poor communication.

Bad communication can occur in many forms: sometimes it takes the guise of ambiguous objectives and goals set for a company’s or department’s employees; other times problems arise when there is too much conversation, such as sending a coworker 10 e-mails, when just one could have clearly stated what was needed or sending a confusing, poorly organized and written e-mail (did you ever receive an e-mail that you had to scroll down through a long line of replies and forwards just to figure out what it was about?)

And sometimes it’s as simple as not clearly explaining to your employees, your boss, your customers or your residents how things are done.

Trouble is, though, good communication takes effort, time and consideration — something that’s not easily found or accomplished in today’s working environment, what with small staffs and juggling the resulting myriad tasks.

This month’s highway superintendent, George Woodson of the town of Riverhead, is just like many of you: he has a small staff and demanding residents. And, as all of you know, these demanding residents can ramp up their communication efforts when some snow floats down to the roads. That’s why George was proactive.

When you read through this month’s Profile, look for the letter he wrote for his residents and businesses in Riverhead on page 36. It’s simple, really, and some or all of you may have done the same thing in one form or another.

The letter, or message, as he called it, clearly states what his residents can expect from his department during snow events as well as what he expects from them. He describes the snow removal process, how it’s done and what residents should do to help.

It’s good, effective communication that not only serves as an unambiguous outline of what it takes it clear roads, but also as a reminder that in any community, we are all in this together, trying to make our communities be great places to live in.

You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.