“Communication“ is defined as the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior. With all of the increased technology available in the workplace today, you would think that communication problems within an organization by now would have been basically eliminated; however, using tools like e-mail, cell phones, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, internal messaging, and other communication tools have only increased the noise in the communication process…which can be a detriment to your communication process if it’s not managed effectively.
Today, managers face the growing task of being able to send a clear, concise and understandable message to his or her employees and when certain aspects are neglected, communication can become ineffective very quickly. Here are just a few tips on how we can communicate more effectively with our employees:
- Assess the Situation – It’s easy to make quick decisions based on superficial evidence. Before communicating any decision, take time to effectively assess what the root cause of the issue is and be sure you understand it from all angles. This can be done by reviewing all available data, including observable data, and using that information to locate the source of the problem.
- Focus on Issues – When communicating with your employees, you should address the issues at hand and not the personalities. When you make that phone call, write an email or speak directly to the employee about a specific problem, always keep the focus on the problem itself. It’s easy to make comments that attack the employee’s character – that’s why it’s better to not respond with a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to issues. Attacking the character of your employee may make you feel better but it will not resolve the problem.
- Manage the Person – It’s easy to forget, as a manager, that we are managing several individual employees and not just 1 or 2 groups. So, when we communicate – we must know when to communicate to the person and to the group. Now, group communication is great for providing general information, education and praising the work of employees; but when giving specific direction or criticism, you should always communicate directly with that employee.
- Lead Personally – Meet face-to-face with employees to clarify content and assure agreement and understanding. In many cases, written words in a memo or email can always be easily confused or misunderstood. When you are trying to address a specific issue, go directly to the employees involved. There’s no substitute for looking an employee in the eye and seeing their reaction to your conversation to assure the intended message is conveyed.
Whether you know it or not, all communications have a result. Our role as a manager is to effectively communicate to our employees so we can equip them to arrive at the intended result. Otherwise, something that seems relatively small and harmless can quickly become a giant problem within your workforce. Never be content with how you communicate…there is always room for improvement. So, write down three things that you can do this week to improve your communication skills with your employees, then go mark your spot and do it. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
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