Tips to improve communication and info sharing
If there’s just one thing that’s on every job description for a management position, it’s this: “Must have good communications skills.”
And for good reason: as a manager, you must have open and candid communication with your employees to make sure they understand their responsibilities and your expectations of their work. Good communication skills are also critical to talking to them about their work performance so that they can correct and improve their results (and even their job satisfaction).
9 tips to help you become the great communicator you want – and need – to be
- You really can’t over-communicate.
When 71 percent of workers think their leaders don’t communicate enough, we recommend erring on the side of communicating “too much.”
Irregular and vague communication easily results in confusion and misinformation, creating distrust, poor work results – how can employees give you what you want or need if they don’t know what that is – and lower morale.
- Be specific.
If there’s a deadline, say so. If you want this task done before that task, say so. If they did something one way, but you prefer another, tell them you appreciate their efforts, but it should be done this specific way (and tell them why it must be done that way). Better yet, if you have a particular way you want something done, tell them in advance.
- Always be honest.
Your team members will appreciate your honesty, even if it means there’s bad news coming their way. Honesty is always far better than sugarcoating unpleasant facts: it can result in employees a) being gobsmacked and unprepared when the truth does come to fruition and b) turning distrustful of what you tell them in the future. (Your authority in their eyes will sink considerably.)
- Be approachable and authentic.
Your team can sniff out when you’re being fake from far across the water cooler. Disrespect follows soon after.
Good managers are easy to talk to and approach. In fact, the best types of communications you can have with your team members are those that help you connect with and build strong relationships with your staff.
So don’t be afraid to show something of the person you are behind your title. Ask friendly questions: How was your weekend? How was your daughter’s swim meet? I really appreciated you staying late last night.
- Communicate in real-time.
People are used to engaging with each other in real-time (texts, emails, FaceTime, etc.). So it’s crucial that you communicate pretty much immediately.
Quick/instant notifications of important news and announcements will help you ensure that everyone on your team is up-to-date on important company and department updates.
- Make sure you reach everyone.
About 74 percent of employees have said they feel that they miss out on important information. Make sure 100 percent of your team members are always in the loop.
- Embrace two-way communication.
It’s really best if you welcome two-way conversations with your employees. They should feel that they can speak to you and engage in “normal,” everyday conversations with you.
You should also welcome feedback from them. This helps build trust between both you and each of your team members.
- You may have to repeat a message several times to make sure it’s heard and understood.
Many people don’t hear messages the first time they’re relayed. Actually, it’s not that they don’t hear it, but they don’t internalize it and remember it.
Telling an employee something and then “checking it off” your to-do list may not be enough. You may need to repeat it again, and yet again, in different ways. You may need to tell someone verbally, send an email, put it in the department newsletter, etc.
If talking with someone or a small group, you may not need to repeat it if you ask them if they understood what you said; ask them to paraphrase it and correct any misunderstanding about your message they may have.
- A lot.
Someone may come to you with an idea or a problem. Paraphrase back to them what you’ve heard. Ask open-ended questions:
- This is what I heard you say.
- How do you see…?
- What ideas do you have?
- I like that idea. How do you think we should put it in place?
- I appreciate the idea, but we can’t do so because…. Can you think of ways to overcome these obstacles? I’m happy to hear them!
Success as a manager also means communication with your OWN manager
As a new manager, chances are that your manager will have a lot of communicating to do with you in your first weeks and months.
Good or bad, you should welcome it.
So much so that we feel learning how to ask for feedback from your manager deserves its own advice post. Look for it as the next post in our “New Manager Advice” series.
In the meantime, how is 2021 treating you so far? Are you looking to move up in your career? If so, check out our current contract, temporary and direct-hire opportunities.
Remember: even if nothing appeals to you today, we’re continually getting new assignments from our clients, so stay in touch!