Employees are the lifeblood of any organization. They are the ones who keep everything running smoothly and make sure that tasks get completed on time.
For this reason, it is vital to have effective communication with them.
Building trust is essential in any relationship and is especially important in the workplace.
1. Treat employees with respect and dignity
This should be a given, but unfortunately, it is not always the case.
Employees who feel respected and valued are likelier to trust their employer and be effective communicators.
Showing your employees that you respect them and value their work is not always easy, but it is worth the effort.
Here are a few ideas:
- Thank employees for their contributions, both big and small
- Recognize and reward good work. A little acknowledgment can go a long way in making an employee feel appreciated. Try to pick up on when people are doing things right rather than pointing out what they are doing wrong.
- Promote your employees based on merit, not on seniority or favoritism
- Demonstrate that you appreciate their input and feedback
- Encourage them to voice their concerns or ideas
- When you give criticism, always do so constructively. Focus on the behavior or action that you would like to see changed, rather than focusing on the person
2. Avoid micromanaging
Micromanaging is one of the quickest ways to destroy employee morale and motivation.
It breeds mistrust and resentment, and it stifles creativity and innovation.
If you are micromanaging your employees, try taking a step back and giving them more autonomy.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should be completely hands-off.
Check with them regularly to see how they are progressing and offer help and guidance when needed.
It is also essential to do so in a supportive and helpful way.
- Offer help when it is requested. Employees should feel free to come to you with any questions or concerns they have
- Be patient and take the time to explain things thoroughly
- Offer praise and positive reinforcement when warranted
- Avoid giving criticism that is vague or nonspecific. If you have concerns about an employee’s performance, be sure to discuss them in a clear and concise way
- Allow employees to make mistakes. We all learn from our mistakes, and employees should be allowed to do so
3. Be consistent in your words and actions
You should always follow through on what you say you are going to do and hold your employees to the same standards.
So you don’t inadvertently forget a task or a deadline, try following the tips below:
- Use task management software to help you keep track of deadlines and assigned tasks. Three of the most popular are Todoist, Trello, and Asana.
- Record online meetings to review later, so you can clarify things if there is any confusion about what was said. There are dozens of screen-recording programs to choose from. The following includes all the essential tools and have user-friendly interfaces: Movavi Screen Recorder, Bandicam, Screencast-O-Matic.
- After each meeting, send a follow-up email with a summary of what was discussed and agreed, with ownership where appropriate.
4. Clearly communicate your expectations
Use precise wording.
Use clear, concise language, and ensure everyone understands what you are saying.
Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to your employees.
Be aware of your body language and the signals you are sending. Make sure the message you want to send is getting across.
If you want to learn more about effective communication and body language, you may find the following books helpful:
- “Winning Body Language” by Mark Bowden
- “The Definitive Book of Body Language” by Allan and Barbara Pease
- “Without Saying a Word” by Kasia and Patryk Wezowski
5. Address problems and concerns as soon as they arise
Address problems and concerns as soon as they appear to prevent them from escalating.
Tackling issues head-on will help build trust and transparency between employees and management.
It will also help ensure all parties are on the same page and everyone is working towards the same goal.
6. Listen to suggestions and feedback
One of the most crucial aspects of effective communication is being a good listener.
This means listening to what your employees are saying, not just hearing the words.
It can be difficult to truly listen, especially when you are busy and have a lot on your mind.
However, it is crucial to make an effort to understand what your employees are trying to say.
Here are a few tips:
- Put aside any distractions and give the person your full attention
- Listen without interrupting or judging
- If you want to know more, ask clarifying questions
- Repeat back what you heard to ensure that you understand correctly
- Avoid making assumptions
- Be willing to reconsider your viewpoint
- Make time for one-on-one conversations
Open communication is essential for effective workplace communication.
Employees should feel free to approach you with any issues or proposals they have.
You can encourage open communication by creating an open-door policy:
- Let your employees know that they can come to you anytime with concerns or questions
- Let employees know that their suggestions and feedback are valued
- Respond to employee concerns promptly
Effective workplace communication takes time, effort, and practice.
However, it is worth the investment, as it can lead to a more productive and positive work environment.
Try implementing some of these ideas to see how they work for you and your team.
7. Be open to change
Effective communication is an ongoing process, and you should always be open to trying new things.
If your employees have suggestions for how things might be done differently, be open to hearing them out. Who knows, you may just learn something new!
Never stop developing your professional skills. There is always something new to learn.
One of the best ways to do this is to attend professional development workshops and seminars and read relevant books and articles.
The more you know, the better equipped you will be to handle any situation that comes up.
But be aware that not everything will go smoothly all the time, and there will be times when communication breaks down.
There are several situations in which a manager should consider changing their communication style.
- If the circumstances have changed and the previous communication style is no longer effective
- When you are dealing with a problematic or challenging employee
- When you want to increase productivity or motivate employees to a particular end
- When you want to build better trust and rapport
- When you are dealing with a sensitive issue
8. Give regular feedback
Try to give employees both positive and constructive feedback regularly.
This will help them understand what they are doing well and where they can improve.
When giving feedback, always make sure to:
- Be specific
- Avoid general comments
- Focus on the future, not the past
- Focus on the behavior, not the person
- Offer solutions or suggestions for improvement
9. Celebrate successes together
When your employees achieve something great, take the time to celebrate together.
This will help build morale and show your employees that you are invested in their success.
There are a number of ways you can celebrate your team’s successes, such as:
- Host a team lunch or happy hour
- Give out small prizes or gifts
- Take the team out for a fun activity
- Have a “team of the week” or “employee of the month” prize for your staff
- Publicly acknowledge an employee’s achievements
What you shouldn’t do when celebrating success is make one person feel like they are more important than the rest of the team.
This can lead to feelings of jealousy and resentment and adversely impact team productivity.
10. Be patient
Effective communication takes time, and you should be patient when implementing new strategies.
You will achieve results if you are patient and consistent.
Avoid becoming frustrated if things do not happen as quickly as you would like.
Remember, effective communication is a journey, not a destination.
- Don’t expect immediate results
- Focus on the long-term goal
- Take things one step at a time
- Be flexible and adaptable
- Recognize that there will be setbacks
Effective workplace communication is essential for a variety of reasons.
While effective communication takes time and effort, it is well worth the investment.
Try implementing some of the tips above to see how they work for you and your team.