As a manager, you're needed to keep your team on task and able to work to deadlines. A huge part of this is communicating well with them. Improving communication in the workplace can bring many benefits to your organization such as increased productivity and loyalty.
The risks of miscommunication are not worth realizing in a work environment. It can create challenges such as a conflict between members of staff or a lack of trust. Negative communication can also have an effect on the morale of employees and may create a situation where employees or departments begin to work in silos.
Communicating with your team members is crucial especially when we face uncertain times such as dealing with Coronavirus.
Bret Bonnet Co-Founder of Quality Logo Products explains:
"Teamwork is very important, especially in these trying times where medical concerns are forcing more and more employees to work remotely. I don't care what type of technology you have at your disposal - managing a remote force is a lot more work. Simple tasks just take longer -, especially in the beginning. Team members who are used to being in the office will quickly feel the loss of community, and you'll see their output suffer. The best way to get around this is for managers to be the catalyst for communication."
If you're not sure where to start with building your communication skills, check out some of these tried and tested tips below:
The easiest way to ensure you're communicating with your team is to put it on the calendar. "Doing this means that you're actually penciling in the time to talk with your team", says HR manager Dawn Rogers from UK Services Reviews. "Your team will see that you're actually making the time to communicate, and they will appreciate that."
As well as this, make time for both one on one and group meetings. Having both means you can communicate to the team at large, as well as with individuals when they don't want to bring something up to the whole group.
Recognize The Positive
As a manager, it's easy to just focus on the negative and communicate that when you need to. However, this can create a negative atmosphere around your team, and in the long term, this isn't what you want. Instead, the best thing to do is focus on the positives when they happen in order to create a positive experience and improve engagement.
Ensure that you're recognizing and rewarding good work when you see it. This helps your team see that you care about the work they do and that they will be rewarded for it.
Use The Right Channels To Communicate Through
There's a lot of options for how you'll communicate with your team. This is especially true if they're a remote team. You can use video calls, texts, emails, IMs, the list goes on. To get the most from your team though, you'll need to pick a communication method that works best for your team.
For example, LinkedIn is a network that many companies now use, as it offers messaging tools that you can use to stay in touch. Choose a service like this, that will save messages and allow you to send multimedia files through it. These are the best ways to stay in touch and record your conversations if you need to go back to them.
Paige Arnof-Fenn Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls suggests to not only use the right communication channels but keeping those channels open at all times. She shares her experience:
"Communication is key to our employee engagement and success so I try to set the tone upfront with one rule, when in doubt over-communicate. Especially now that everyone is working remotely it is key to set up regular video and conference calls with your team. At the beginning of the project do not make assumptions about what people from different groups want or know, just ask or send an e-mail. It will save you a lot of time, money and frustration down the road. Trust me. This comes from experience. Be a good listener and make sure you hear the others, their hopes, frustrations, and intentions.. If the lines of communication are open and everyone makes an effort to listen and be heard then collaboration will happen naturally and the information will flow"
Set Deadlines/ Expectations
What goals do you have? Let it be clear and don’t forget to set expectations.
You need to communicate this with employees by possibly organizing a meeting where you can both chat about what needs to be done. Having a one-on-one is always a good idea as most people love their privacy.
Preferably, you can make a checklist as well as action items. This will let both parties know planned tasks as well as due dates. This is also an opportunity to talk about performance at work and promotion if need be.
It is also important for you to plan ahead of time for any meeting so that you are well prepared to share any information you might have. Preparing ahead of time will help you feel much more at ease to relay any information and you’ll enjoy it as much as your employees are happy to absorb any information.
Check Your Grammar
Good grammar is vital to good communication, but it's often overlooked. If you communicate via text to your team regularly, then you're going to want to brush up on yours. There are tools online that will help you improve your writing. Student Writing Services, for example, check your writing for errors before you send it. Putting these tools to good use will help you communicate much more clearly.
Don't Interrupt Others
This is quite obvious, but it does need to be said. A good leader should be able to listen as well as talk. When listening to others, listen to them until they are done speaking, before coming in with your own point. If you cut them off, it can make them feel negative towards you.
Don’t be that boss who loves to talk without making an effort to receive some feedback. Try to consult on the opinion of others. If you believe that their idea isn’t good enough, explain to them your reasons for such. This will only help them improve their quest to learn more, and ultimately help reduce your workload in the long run.
As soon as you realize that you’ve been speaking for a while, you might want to take a quick pause to ask if there are any questions or if the message is being understood.
Allowing free way of communication makes employees feel that they are being valued at their workplace and encourages transparency in the workplace.
Write Them Down
Communication isn’t lost when it’s properly documented and everyone is aware of this. As much as possible, encourage putting things into writing as this helps simplify what’s been passed across and it's better broken down.
It’s also important that you both go over what is written so that both parties are aware of what is expected of each person.
This can then be sent across to the other person via email after the meeting to follow up. This way, it’s easier to set timelines over what has been communicated.
Following up will serve as a refresher just in the event that any information communicated has been lost. You and your employee can always refer to it in the future.
Edit And Proofread Everything You Send
You'll be talking to your team all the time, so it's vital that you get it right. Whenever you compose a message, make the time to really check it over, to ensure it's right. It's very important to check your tone in these kinds of messages. You lose a lot of communication via text, so your messages may come across differently than intended.
You can get help online if you need it. Services like Top Canadian Writers can proofread your emails and other communications. It's well worth taking this step to improve your communication.
Stick To The Facts
No matter what you're talking about, it's always best to stick to the facts. Bringing your own thoughts into a situation may not be appropriate, and can even look unprofessional. This is especially true if you're speaking with a team member about their performance. Just stick to what's evident, and what they can do to improve.
Think Before You Speak
This sounds obvious, but you should think about what you're going to say before you say it. Know what points you're trying to make, and how your words will have an effect on your team. It's amazing what a difference it can make just taking a moment before saying something is, just to organize your thoughts.
The same goes for writing messages, too. Don't just write something then send it right away. Actually, think about what you're saying in your message. A tool like AcademAdvisor can offer you writing guides, so you get it right when you're contacting your staff.
Continue to share your Company's Values
In the past, I wondered why my former organization always reminded us of the company's values, beliefs, etc. And then it occurred to me, I had become so familiar with what the company's vision, mission, and goals were. I could say it off the top of my head.
Sharing this with us at every given interval was a good way to communicate what the company's intentions were at each point in time. We also had the opportunity to respond to employee surveys since the organization was large and two-way communication was important.
We might not have been able to communicate daily, but being able to share our feedback with top management was something much appreciated.
Regardless if you are working with your team in the office or remotely, these tips will help you become an effective communicator, and lead a team that performs well. Use the advice here to become a manager that cares about their team and their needs, and watch performance skyrocket.
Rachel Summers has been working in social media management for seven years. She's worked with several respected businesses, such as Australian Reviewer, a leading custom writing services. She also works with new businesses, creating social media strategies with them.