Ten Commandments of Truck Driver Communication
Please and thank you are simple words that seem to have disappeared in business during the last two and a half decades. In the age of communication, it is ironic that we struggle more today than ever before to speak well to one another. While technology has given us email, satellite communications, and instant messaging, somewhere along the line we have lost the art of communicating.
How we communicate with each other in the office and with our truck drivers on the road has a tremendous effect on how we feel and how committed we are to one another. Here are simple rules, which if followed, can only help to improve the culture and climate at your company as well as reduce driver turnover.
- Refer to each other by name, not driver code, log-on code, or tractor number. What a concept! People respond to people, not equipment.
- Say “thank you” often. When you recognize a job well done respond with a sincere “thank you” because people will remember.
- When you commit to something, follow through. When you cannot, communicate this with the other person right away.
- Do not leave at the end of the day without communicating, especially when you do not have good news.
- Be honest and upfront. People respect those who tell it straight.
- Praise people in public and give constructive feedback in private.
- When communicating constructive feedback, never use the satellite or email. It is too easy to misinterpret the meaning of the message.
- Take a deep breath and relax. Trucking can be tough on everyone.
- Don’t blame others; be accountable. When a plan falls through (hard to believe that happens in trucking) communicate, communicate, communicate. See number five.
- Call, email, or send a satellite message when you say you will. This helps to build trust which leads to strong relationships
No one will argue that one of the biggest problems that exists in trucking today is turnover. Truck drivers have too much time on their hands to think, stew, and misinterpret. If everyone in your organization understands that fact and works diligently on communicating, turnover for trivial reasons will be reduced.
There is nothing fancy here. The secret here is relearning to communicate in a more polite and humane manner. We all could use a refresher course on that.