A team’s success hinges on the communication between management and their employees. How managers speak to their staff affects their performance as well as their personal and work journeys. It can be difficult to navigate workplace communication, but it all boils down to a few key elements.
Here’s why effective communication is so important, and how it can actually be achieved.
Why excellent communication is the secret sauce for success
There are a lot of reasons to optimize communication between managers and employers. These include helping:
- Employees to better understand department goals
- Teams stay up to date with information
- Employees and their managers to build a more trusting working and personal relationship
- Employees to avoid confusion
- Projects to be completed on time
And so much more. When employees and their managers are on the same page, productivity, motivation, and satisfaction all increase.
Ways to communicate effectively with employees
1. Be approachable
No one wants to talk to a manager who is known for being unkind, unfriendly, and unapproachable. Managers should always do their best to come across as positive and friendly, so that employees feel that talking to them is always an option. Similarly, employees should also always do the same.
Being approachable extends to body language and nonverbal communication as well, so being careful and intentional with mannerisms will go a long way.
2. Communicate clearly
Communication, whether on or offline, should be done clearly. It’s important to use easy-to-understand language rather than unnecessarily technical or overcomplicated language, watch tone, language, and communication style, and plan what to say and how to say it.
For managers, keeping things short and concise and checking that employees understand makes a world of difference.
For employees, checking with the manager that what has been understood is correct can be very effective.
3. Be honest
Being honest with expectations and concerns helps employees and managers to understand what is needed from them. There should be comfort with discussing what works and what doesn’t, encouraging employees to self-assess strategies, and finding solutions as a team. Employees should know how the company is doing and what areas need improvement.
4. Encourage feedback and two-way conversations
Employees should know that their ideas and opinions are valued by being encouraged to give feedback. Communication should never be a one-way street, so managers have to enable feedback. This can be done by having a suggestion box where employees can drop off anonymous notes, inviting verbal feedback and thoughts in meetings, or even with surveys where employees can make their thoughts and feelings known.
5. Be timely and regular
There should be regular team meetings where employees can share information with each other and with managers. They’re great opportunities to, as a group:
- Solve problems
- Set goals
- Give feedback
- Answer questions
- Talk about challenges
- Understand responsibilities
- Discuss any projects or problems
- Provide updates
6. Pick the right delivery
There are many ways to communicate such as emails, calls, or in person. The right method will depend on what needs to be said and who it needs to be said to.
Some employees prefer emails, some calls, and others in-person conversations. What should always be delivered in person would be serious or urgent topics, such as:
- Major news, like a promotion
- Tasks, questions, or updates that require urgent attention, action, or response
- Sensitive information
- Training or instructions
- Conflict resolution
7. Be understanding
Managers and employees should make it a point to know each other so that they can better understand each other’s unique needs, wants, and personalities. Showing empathy, asking questions, and knowing what is generally going on in their lives, will help to tailor communication strategies and maximize conversations.
It’s important for managers to keep in mind that every person is different and will react and respond differently in different situations. There can be any number of reasons for employees to think and act in a certain way. It’s the manager’s job to understand this and bridge the gaps between themselves and the employee.
Saving the best for last, the most important way that communication can be improved is by listening. What is the other party saying? What can be changed and worked on, and why?
Both employers and employees need to work on listening skills. A good listener:
- Gives their full attention to the person speaking
- Tries to understand where they are coming from and empathize with them
- Absorbs what they are saying
- Asks questions if they don’t understand what’s happening
- Can respond politely and graciously
Good communication between employers and employees is must
Effective communication depends on both parties to make effort, but managers need to do most of the lifting in the relationship as they are in a position of power and can do the most to facilitate these changes.
It’s important that employees feel listened to. They must have a safe space where they know that they will not be ridiculed, demeaned, or attacked. At the same time, managers should feel that their employees are open to advice and constructive criticism.
Workplace communication is all about balance and being kind.
When communication improves, so will productivity, motivation, and satisfaction.