How to Communicate With the Members of Your Team Effectively?
Interpersonal skills are an essential tool to succeed for every member of your team, but especially those in a management or leadership position. 69% of managers are often uncomfortable communicating with employees (Interact), while 34% of employees are either unhappy or extremely unhappy with the current communication strategies, practices and habbits at their workplace (Ragan). The purpose of management in an organisation is to accomplish goals and objectives and lead others to contribute what is expected of them. For this reason, communication in business must be strong, and information must always be clearly conveyed, especially as remote working is also becoming more prominent where it is possible. It is not however enough for managers and leaders to be clear about their orders – they should also motivate the members of their team, and ensure the team collaborates well, and that all the steps to reach the company goal are being taken, as well as take into account the career and skill development of employees, giving them praise for what they do well and providing constructive feedback.
Skills and Characteristics of a Good Manager
Tips for Providing Constructive Feedback
To put forward one’s requirements and ideas clearly and invite others to do the same provides space for a open dialogue, which may lead to further development of your organisation, as well as create a safe space for all members of the team to feel included and want to invest themselves into their tasks, as they feel that they contribute value to the company. It makes employees well aware of what is expected of them, it provides clarity on all of their tasks, and makes it easy to ask any questions and enquire on any aspects of their tasks they’re unclear on. Every employee should also know the ‘why’ behind their task, instead of working on a project blindly. Open communication eases any barriers between staff and those in higher leadership position, and creates trusting relationships which in turn contribute to the teamwork of everybody involved. Strong communication skills between managers and leaders and their employees does not equate to micromanaging. Micromanaging is an ineffective method of management, which has the opposite effects of good communication. Every employee needs to be trusted to do their work correctly, and they require their own space to do so.
What happens if we communicate ineffectively?
Ineffective communication will cause members of the team to be unclear of their roles, responsibilities and tasks. This leads to confusion, delays, and all of the points below.
2. Culture of distrust, discomfort and tension:
A lack of communication may contribute to a strong barrier between leadership and staff, and make employees feel tense. Ultimately, management and employees may feel they are not working on the same team, which cannot lead to a successful co-operation. Nobody wants to feel uncomfortable at work or feel like they don’t play an important role.
3. Uncertainty and taking guesses:
It may just be that if your employees are not comfortable asking a question, that they will guess the correct answer instead. This could ultimately harm your organisation, and it needs to be ensured that every member of staff feels save to enquire on anything they’re unclear about. It will also negatively influence your employees’ time and workload management. Read more about time management in our Skills and Characteristics of a Good Manager article.
4. Negative impact on customer relationships:
Poorly informed employees dealing with your client base will not be able to provide customers all necessary information or may misguide them. If your workforce doesn’t collaborate as a team, it will also cause obstacles in analysis customer feedback and working towards solutions.
5. Toxic culture:
A lack of communication will lead to general dissatisfaction and may lead to gossip.
6. Hostility and frustration:
All of the above points will make your workforce unhappy, and may even lead to low retention rates.
See our Conflict Resolution in the Workplace e-learning course to develop the skills and knowledge of your staff further, encourage constructive dialogue and avoid unnecessary conflict.
The above should be enough evidence of the need for strong and effective communication skills in the workplace.
Whether you engage in verbal communication or digital communication, the following tips will provide guidance and tips to improve the communication skills in your organisation and the interpersonal skills of your employees.
Make Use of the 7 CS of Communication:
‘The 7 Cs of communication’ is a guide to effective communication skills, which covers all of the essential aspects of good interpersonal skills.
1. Courteous & Considerate:
Empathy is an essential attribute of every manager and leader, and without it close and trusting relationships with their employees are not possible (see Skills and Characteristics of a Good Manager). In order to fully understand somebody and treat them correctly, we must picture ourselves in their shoes and be able to relate to them. A study by Center for Creative Leadership has found that empathy in the workplace is closely related to positive work performance. The managers who were found to be the most empathetic were also rated most efficient by their own bosses. A compassionate leader looks out for the personal and professional needs of each employee, taking into account their workload and happiness at work. Focus on listening to your employees more than talking, in order to understand all of the members of your team and help them feel heard. Attentive listening means to pay attention and be observant. Don’t make assumptions about your employees’ or co-worker’s feelings and thoughts – rather ask.
Favouritism in the workplace is an unacceptable practice and every manager and/or leader must ensure they treat everybody equally as well as adhere to their specific needs and requirements.
Almost as many as 1 in 3 employees don’t trust the leaders in their organisation (Edelman).To create more trust within your organisation, it’s intrinsic to be transparent and honest with your employees.
As discussed above, creating positive, trusting relationships in the workplace, and creating space for an open conversation contribute to a productive, friendly culture and happy and motivated employees, who feel that they’re adding value to the organisation.
Ensure your message flows logically and makes sense. Present all of the information in a sequence where one topic will connect onto the next. When the recipients see the relationship between the different topics you are covering, they will grasp the message and understand it more fully.
71% of employees believe that employers are often unclear about their goals and plans (Vingapp) – a shocking figure. Speak to your employees. Depending on the role of each member of leadership or staff in your organisation, they most likely don’t need to hold meetings with everybody every day. In fact, excessive ‘checking up on employees’ should always be avoided. Micromanaging is always a bad management method, as mentioned above.
When you do take time to speak to members of your team, it’s essential that you are specific about what you need. Do not give vague instructions or create vague plans. Mention 1 goal at a time in order to stay on track and prevent confusion. Ask yourself, ‘What is the purpose of this message?’
If your organisation has not designed a clear organizational structure yet, it may be time to do so. Further mapping out of everybody’s job titles and responsibilities will be needed as well. This will contribute to everyone in your organisation not only being clear on their own role, but also knowing where to go to enquire for anything they may need to find out or complete. This will save time an
Frequent 1 to 1 meetings and performance reviews are a great way to provide feedback to your employees. See our Tips for Providing Constructive Feedback: Make Use of SMARTER Goals article.
Is your message conveying accurate information? To prevent future mistakes, confusion and delays, ensure you provide specific and correct information. Further, also ensure there are no spelling and grammatical errors. Ensure to always address people correctly, and by doing so show them respect and that you care about them as individuals. Adjust your language according to the understanding and knowledge of the individual you are communicating with.
If you are calling the recipient of your message to an action, ensure that they have all of the complete information to be able to finish their task. Think about questions your recipient may have, find out the relevant information and answer these straight away. This will again prevent delays and confusion, and will also help the member of your team stay clear on what to do and not take any guesses.
While our message must contain all of the necessary information, it must also be as short as possible. Short messages are simpler, and therefore clearer for every member of the team to comprehend. Ensure your message only contains necessary information.
Gisting is a technique that interestingly comes from the CIA. When the CIA would receive their training reports, they would be quite lengthy to read and did not every piece of information in it was relevant. Their analysts would therefore read the document and then sum it up into a one page document (or even shorter). This is a great thing to keep in mind while communicating with your employees. Ensure they get the ‘gist’ – but aren’t overwhelmed by excessive detail.
This point ties in directly with our third point, ‘Clear.’ Use language that cannot be misinterpreted. Back up your message with supporting claims, facts and figures, and use descriptive language to reach the recipients of your message better. Don’t be general, but be specific and use the appropriate wording.
Assertive communication is an open and honest way of communicating, which is straight forward and conveys both negatives and positives. This way of communication, when done correctly, is a very effective and much needed tool to motivate and lead your employees. Learn more about constructive feedback in our article: https://www.basegreenacademy.co.uk/tips-for-providing-constructive-feedback-make-use-of-smarter-goals
How Often Should We Communicate?
While we should avoid micromanagement and show that we trust our employees with their work by giving them their space to do it, every employee should still be in close contact with their line management and other relevant members of each department. Engagement is highest amongst employees who communicate with their manager daily (Gallup). This could be face-to-face, via the phone or digitally. Further, managers that combine all three of these have been found to be most successful at motivating the members of their team to be engaged. The manager should respond to their employees within 24hs, as this is a figure found to be most frequent amongst highly engaged workforce.
Use Communication to Motivate Your Employees
Consider both short term and long term goals for your employees. Remind them of the big picture – the mission and goals of your organisation, but also their personal development. Think and plan for opportunities that lie ahead for both your organisation and the career development of your workforce.
Consider investing in professional training for your employees. 94% of employees stay with a company for longer where there are training opportunities available. We at Basegreen Academy tailor our learning programmes to the specific needs of each organisation, delivering our courses exactly as they require. We provide courses in the professional services, education and health and social care sectors. If you are interested, please request our organisational needs analysis on our website or via contacting us directly.
See also our e-learning suite of short courses which are designed to fill a variety of skill gaps, for example in business, health and safety and effective leadership and communication.
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