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How Diagonal Communication Can Benefit Your Business

In businesses with strict hierarchies, people of differing levels across teams may not frequently interact, but this could help to boost efficiency and promote good communication across your organization. This is called diagonal communication. This article will explain how incorporating more of this communication type into your business structure could be beneficial, helping boost your teams’ efficiency.

What is Diagonal Communication?

Diagonal communication, sometimes called crosswise communication, hybridizes vertical communication, which involves an employee and supervisor of a higher rank within the same team, and horizontal communication, which involves employees of the same rank within an organization. This type of communication disregards reporting lines, allowing people from different departments to converse directly regardless of their position.

Traditional company hierarchy

Benefits of Diagonal Communication

Diagonal communication makes it easier for different departments to collaborate on projects and complete work more efficiently. It can also allow workers to get information faster than if they talked to their supervisor who in turn gets the necessary information from the other team. And knowing how messages can change when relayed through multiple channels, diagonal communication can result in a more accurate relay of information to the parties who need it.

Direct communication across teams can also provide people at all levels of the organization with a better understanding of how different departments work and connect on different projects. This big picture perspective can help people better understand company goals and complete their work more effectively.

Challenges of Diagonal Communication

Despite the many benefits of diagonal communication, there can be challenges as well. Not all situations are appropriate for bypassing the chain of command; when a manager is left out of the loop, there is potential for cross-department communication to lead to hurt feelings or misinformation. It’s best for managers to be in the know when diagonal communication occurs.

Furthermore, since each department has its own jargon, there can be miscommunication between teams that aren’t familiar with each other’s work. It’s best to ensure that any cross-departmental communication is clear and straightforward to avoid misunderstandings.

Diagonal communication allows employees across departments to share information.

Diagonal Communication in Action

Let’s take a look at some examples of diagonal communication.

  • A Content Writer at a marketing firm needs to communicate with the Design Team Lead to make sure the ad copy written matches the ad visuals.

  • A programmer for a video game development company contacts the Finance Team

  • Lead to see if new character design ideas will fit within the project budget.

  • A HR manager reaches out to people across the organization to gather information on work flow processes to improve overall company structure.

  • An illustrator at a publishing company contacts the Head of Advertising to discuss the parameters of a book cover design.

Strategies to Improve Diagonal Communication

Facilitating diagonal communication within your company can help your employees to feel comfortable learning from and collaborating across teams. When implementing this type of communication, be sure to emphasize and prioritize clarity and transparency. Ensure that team members know how to express themselves clearly to people outside their team.

It can also help ensure that your company has specific avenues of communication used by every team. Whether it’s a team messaging app, email, face-to-face discussions or audio calls, make sure everyone knows the best way to communicate within and outside of their department. Teams should also be briefed by their managers on proper communication etiquette with other departments, including who the main points of contact are, who the best person is to ask for certain things, and what information should remain confidential within the team.

Anyone working with others in their corporation will benefit from quality communication, regardless of their position. A great way to facilitate efficient diagonal communication across teams is with a project management tool like Taskworld. Check out our website to learn how Taskworld can promote better communication for your teams.