The better your employees communicate with one another, the more productive they’ll be. That’s because strong communication skills help build healthy working relationships and organizational culture — which in turn boost employee morale and make operations more efficient. Think about it: lack of transparency and communication is one of the top three reasons that drive employees crazy, as we found in our Employee Engagement Report.
Are you worried that your employees doesn’t have the best communication skills on the block? If so, it’s time for you to lead by example. To improve communication at your workplace, consider the following seven tips you need to add as leadership qualities:
1. Be calm, cool, and collected at all times — even during conflicts
Ever had a boss who could be accurately described as a hothead? Chances are you weren’t really eager to tell that person everything that was going on in your day-to-day.
An organization’s communications skills start from the top and work their way down. To ensure your employees have strong communication abilities, do your best to remain calm, cool, and collected at all times. Be approachable, even during crisis situations.
2. Talk to your employees about their lives
Work is not the most important thing in the world. Take some time to get to know each of your employees beyond their job responsibilities. Ask them about what’s going on in their lives, and tell them what’s going on in yours.
This, in turn, should get the wheels moving, setting the stage for employees to be more communicative about work matters in the future.
3. Give honest feedback — the good and the bad
Employees care about how they’re performing — or at least how their bosses perceive their performance. In fact, many workers are particularly interested in what they’re doing incorrectly so they know what they have to work on.
Provide your employees with comprehensive feedback on a regular basis. Be sure to compliment them on their strengths while also shining a light on their weaknesses. Be honest, and they’ll be honest in return.
4. Respect cultural differences
Not everyone speaks the same way, believes the same things, or follows the same religion.
Managers who wish to improve their team’s communication skills must embrace diversity — and respect cultural differences. Otherwise, they risk alienating key members of their teams, which in turn could turn even more employees against them.
5. Treat your employees like humans
No two people are the same. While you should do your best not to play favorites, you should try not to treat every employee exactly the same.
For example, it might be practically impossible for a certain graphic designer to show up to work at 9 a.m. That person is simply a night owl, but stays late and always gets all of their work done and done well.
If your office opens at 9 a.m., ask yourself whether it’s worth penalizing the designer for being late. Do you really want to have to find someone to replace them? In this instance, maybe you should just be a little flexible with this employee. It’ll certainly be noticed.
6. Meet in person when the situation calls for it
Have something particularly important to say? Don’t shoot your employee a quick instant message.
Whether you’re giving feedback or talking shop, some conversations are best made in the flesh. So when the situation calls for it, call your employees to a meeting in your office. Connect on a human level.
7. Listen to what your employees have to say
If you want your employees to communicate better, you have to remember that communication is a two-way street: it involves more than just talking.