Communication is the key to any good relationship, personal or professional. Whether it’s your managers or the people you manage, when you communicate with your team, you want to be heard and understood by them.
We’ve all had managers who can’t communicate effectively. Bosses that don’t listen to employee feedback, or that try to take sole credit for their team’s work, or jobs that you might not feel comfortable voicing any opinion at all. Fear and isolation are not the framework on which to build a solid company.
In order for your business to grow and for your employees to feel happy and secure at work, you need to learn how to communicate like a pro. Here are three ways to communicate effectively with your team that will strengthen your company.
Be An Active Listener
If you do one thing in life, become an active listener. You’ve probably been in conversations with people where it’s obvious one person isn’t listening; they’re just waiting to talk. Those are the worst kind of communicators, because they don’t hear the other person.
An active listener pays attention to the words and the tone of the person speaking. Practice this with your employees each day. Listen to them and say back to them what they just said. For example, if someone says they are having a bad day because traffic was bad on the way into work, say ‘What I’m hearing is you’re feeling frustrated because of your commute this morning.’
Active listening is a great tool for other areas of your life too, and it increases empathy in people. It’s a great tool that helps you communicate with your team better.
Be Clear With Priorities
Managers that can’t delegate are bad managers. When you’re speaking with your team about action items, make it clear what the priorities are.
Don’t bother stressing people out with a six month to do list if you want them to focus on tasks that are due in the next week. Clarify what you want people to do by ranking tasks, and keeping information flow tight. If you’re building a house, the first thing you need is blueprints. Don’t worry about what color to paint the door, and don’t weight down your teams with those long-term concerns.
For example, saying “This week, the Ebson project is the priority. We need to get them the blueprints by Tuesday.” Once the blueprints are done or close to completion, send your team the next step.
Get to Really Know People
Communication is always more effective when the listener feels like the speaker actually cares about the conversation. That’s why active listening is so important. It’s also why managers should take the time to really get to know their team.
If you have a team of five people, you should know some personal details about each of them. Are they married? Are they originally from the area? Do they speak another language? Use these details when talking to people, and make it a point to remember them long term.
Not only does this make team members feel valued, it might also come into play in terms of who should be doing what work. If you have a team member who spent a year in France and pick up a French client, you’ve got a new project leader.
To communicate effectively all the time, use all three of these tactics at work.
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Author: Kara Perez