Updated on May 18th, 2018
Great communication is an essential part of having a functional team at work and a successful company. The opposite is also true in that when this communication doesn’t exist, it’s detrimental.
You can’t expect your employees to work towards a common goal when there’s a barrier standing in the way. With this in mind, it’s important to learn how to positively and effectively communicated in the business world today.
Create A Communication-Friendly Office
As a manager you’re responsible for making sure that your team’s communication flows clearly and continually. Employees should feel comfortable sharing feelings and ideas. Fortunately, Office Vibe says there are some things that you can do to encourage a communication-friendly office, including:
- Be a good example by continually communicating yourself – ask questions, challenge ideas, share your feelings, and help raise other people’s spirits.
- Encourage others to interact socially by not eating lunch at their desks.
- When you claim to have an open-door policy, make sure that you actually keep your office door open.
- Don’t rely on annual reviews to communicate with your employees. Schedule monthly one-on-one meetings so you know where your employees are, what they’re doing, and how they’re feeling.
- Have a weekly meeting when your whole team can share their thoughts and feelings with one another. Not everyone will feel comfortable speaking up here so leave some pens and post-it notes at the door so when people enter they can anonymously share things with you. Make sure you also include your telecommuting employees here. The best way to do this is by using a free virtual meeting app.
Communicating Effectively as a Manager
As a manager, your communication skills are vital. Your employees will watch what you do and model themselves after you. According to Money Crashers some of the ways in which you can improve your communication skills include:
- Always think about the situation before acting on it. Don’t let your emotions tempt you to make a quick decision that’s based on superficial evidence that doesn’t reflect the true nature of the problem.
- Gather as much information as possible. Go out of your way to confirm the information before you make a decision. This is like how you don’t want to treat symptoms when you should be treating a disease. Data represents the problem, but it isn’t the problem.
- You need to manage people individually instead of as a group. When you address a group, nobody will take personal responsibility – especially when you’re delivering criticism. This is because everyone will feel they’ve put in the effort necessary to meet expectations. The only time addressing a group as a whole works well is when you’re providing general information or praise.
- Face-to-face communication is important because your body language says just as much as your words do. When you speak without sharing your body language your meaning and intent is often misunderstood, which can become confusing and even lead to a conflict.
- Don’t think of your subordinates as robots. Personable communication builds bridges of trust and mutual respect. This shows your employees that you’ll stand by them regardless of what they’re going through.
- Be clear and direct when telling employees what you expect from them. Use simple, understandable terms when assigning responsibilities and once you’ve done so, make sure the person you’ve instructed understands what you said.
- Remember, your employees expect to be seen, heard, and given important tasks to handle. They also want to be liked and respected by you and their coworkers. It’s up to you to maintain and develop this enthusiasm and commitment, regardless of how stressful things become.
- Dealing with your employees’ mistakes in a way that you’d want to be dealt with is important.
Communicating Effectively as an Employee
Even as an employee you should still be concerned about how well you communicate. Doing so in an effective manner will stop the situation from being needlessly exacerbated. It will help you not waste time and effort or spending time trying to address problems that you could have avoided in the first place. As an employee some of the ways in which you can do this include:
- You shouldn’t take criticism personally. Criticism should always based on observable actions and results. Understanding the motivation behind an activity is impossible. As such, you shouldn’t be too sensitive or defensive since the goal is simply to get the intended result, build better relationships, and get any necessary information.
- It’s important to be understanding instead of jumping to a conclusion. Remember, everyone has a bad day, but this isn’t a good reason to lash out and assail someone else. Instead, everyone should simply walk away and cool down some. Once everyone’s head is cooler and there’s less pressure you can contact the assailant and learn more about the problem and how you can help solve it instead of exacerbating it. You may even be surprised to find that the stimulus that caused you to assail the other person was simply an overreaction.
- Learning from your mistakes is important, regardless what stage of your career you’re at. It doesn’t matter how capable and talented your managers are, they can still teach you something. Even if you’re learning how it feels to be unjustly accused of a poor performance, you can see this as an opportunity to remember your feelings before you make the same mistakes with the people in the future, once you too become a manager. Surprisingly enough, there are times when the bad examples are much more effective than the good examples. Of course, this just demonstrates how we really can learn to better ourselves in any situation.
Communication is a skill you’ll need to take time to learn. Your company’s success is directly affected by how well and effectively everyone communicates. However, it’s well worth the effort since good communication will help you secure your future in a better position in your niche. You’ll also make sure that things are much less stressful in your current work environment and who couldn’t use a little stress in their lives.