So you’re the boss! While authority can give you a heady feeling, it can also come with special challenges and considerations – the most important of which is your ability to effectively communicate with your staff. Communication is the true measure of your relationship with employees, and can have real impact on your professional success as a manager. What’s more, effective internal communication boosts productivity and your company’s bottom line. Here are the key points you need to know.1. Listen more than you talk
Effective managers know that the most important element of good communication isn’t talking – it’s listening. From being open to new ideas to understanding employees’ concerns, you must allow your staff to tell you what’s on their minds without fear of repercussions. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything that’s said or accept every suggestion, but at least your employees will know that their concerns have been heard – which goes a long way towards building trust and respect. 2. Make your expectations clear
Vague, cryptic comments and instructions will confuse and frustrate your workers. Make sure that requests and agreements are clear, both verbally and in writing. If you are trying to address a problem with an employee, you need to use specific examples to communicate your point.
For example, don’t tell someone, “You need to work on meeting deadlines.” Instead, say, “These reports need to be done by 9:00 every Monday. When they’re not done on time, it prevents us from shipping on time, and that causes us to lose money and hurts our business relationship with customers.” Then, give the employee a specific roadmap for improvement, and offer support: “This really needs to improve within 30 days. If there is some reason why you’re not meeting your deadlines, let’s discuss it so we can figure out a solution.” 3. Don’t jump to conclusions
This goes hand in hand with good listening – don’t assume you know the full story behind an incident. Even if you were present when it occurred, there may be an underlying issue or problem you’re not aware of that caused the incident.
For example, if you receive a complaint about customer service, don’t just accuse your staff of not interacting well with customers. Say, “This is what I know about that situation,” and explain what you know. Then allow the employee(s) to tell you what happened from their perspective – you may discover that the issue was out of the employee’s control, or was due to other circumstances that need to be addressed.4. Don’t forget positive reinforcement and feedback
One of the primary reasons workers leave a job is because they feel unappreciated. Employees don’t need to be constantly showered with insincere praise (“You did such a great job making those copies! Excellent work!”); however, it’s important to recognise genuine effort and accomplishment. Try to link specific actions with outcomes; for instance, “You did a great job with that presentation – I think we can really expect to generate higher sales from the customer.” Studies show that this type of recognition has several benefits: it increases company loyalty, boosts individual productivity, and improves customer and client relationships.
Are you an employee looking for tips on communication with your manager? Then read Top tips for talking with your boss