Who's afraid of senior management? Internal communicators! (UK survey results)

According to research just released from the UK, fear of upsetting the leader stops communicators from generating good internal communication:

"Internal communicators are most likely to pull back from what they believe to be the appropriate course of action because of problems with senior management." More here or see summary results below.

Survey title: “Fearless Communication – What Encourages It and What Kills It Stone Dead Conducted online by Institute of Internal Communication (UK) - released April 2011


1. “Major block to progress in communication”?

Senior management – 45% of respondents

Budgetary or time constraints – 19%

Attitude of colleagues – 11%

General lack of confidence – 11%

2. “Scariest challenge you face?”

Getting support of leaders and other staff – 45%

Effective use of social media and new technology – 19%

3. “Key factor with potential to reduce fear and initiate positive action?”

Understanding leaders – 44%

Supportive network – 16%

Mentor – 13%

4. “Attributes most associated with fearless communication”

Excellent interpersonal skills (persuasion, influencing, listening, ability to inspire and engage) – 16%

Honesty and consistency – 14%

Tenacity and persistence – 12%

General confidence – 10%

Clarity of management and focus – 7%

5. “Behaviors most associated with fearfulness”

“Toeing the line in relation to senior managers” – 16%

“Generally not standing up for what they believe in and watering everything down to avoid upsetting people” - 7%

What do you think? Are leaders a help when it comes to internal communication, or not?


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, www.AllThingsBrand.com and www.DannielleBlumenthal.com, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.