Through communication collaboration and teamwork, common goals, commitment to joint vision, respect and support for team members can be accentuated. In tougher times, when someone drops the ball, someone else is always there to pick it up. As a result this improves self confidence, motivates employees to go above and beyond and stay calm under pressure. That makes the difference in success and failure.
Another communication skill featured in Vital Learning’s Essential Skills of Communicating™ is the ability to design clear, concise messages. At the baseline this means the following:
• Communicating with concise words and sentences
• Using specific terms
• Choosing commonly understood and respectful words
Most people have to work at designing good messages. In order to obtain credibility, it is important to identify and articulate the strongest point of shared interest.
Leaders can further their communication effectiveness by creating rules of engagement, providing comfortable boundaries and encouraging feedback for increased innovation. Managers and supervisors also help team members overcome friction in diverse groups by motivating them to work through differences.
In today’s diverse workplace, designing appropriate messages may be even more difficult. Understanding the complexities helps develop open honest discussions that are tolerant of individual differences. Supervisors and managers should set an example of good communication that helps team members think, communicate and work differently for the greater good of the team and the organization. Providing consistent, clear and relevant feedback for diverse individuals and groups is essential.
The Importance of Both Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
Research also indicates that it is important for leaders to show employees they matter through both verbal and nonverbal communication. Communication can be the single biggest factor in engaging and retaining employees. Often supervisors do not spend enough time talking with employees, and when they do, they may make the mistake of sending the wrong nonverbal cues.
Leaders who are consistent with one-on-ones, as well as chatting with and listening to employees, show employees they care. The Gallup Organization indicates that caring is one of the elements identified in predicting employee and workgroup performance, and it links to critical business outcomes, including productivity and profitability.
In working with high performers, for example, studies show that if these employees don’t receive feedback and don’t know where they stand, they are more likely to become disengaged. The Center for Creative Leadership research shows that only about 40 percent of employers formally tell employees of their status, and this leads to attrition.
“One hundred percent of leadership happens through conversations that pull people into a game, not through sitting back and creating things,” said Ken Luce, global COO, Hill & Knowlten.
Thus, communication means that leaders set time for formal one-on-one communication, as well as informal communication as they walk the shop floor, read email messages or blog on the company Intranet. Social media is an important part of employee engagement, according to the International Association of Business Communications (IABC). These forms of communication influence organizational agendas, priorities and goals. News feeds, blogs and collaboration tools are ways to both listen to and engage employees.
You Hear Them, But Are You Listening?
Listening, another essential communication skill, includes the ability to reflect, probe, support and advise. It builds trust and commitment, which steadily nurture employees and the organization for shared purpose. Using listening skills reinforces employee emotional attachment to the company. Listening is also the catalyst for problem-solving by inviting varied opinions, tapping into expertise and encouraging people to express what they really think. This heightened sense of trust and respect is what employees crave.
Communicating effectively takes time and is required to determine company direction and priorities. Many organizations underestimate the value of well-trained leaders who give attention to interpersonal details. Without this, missteps occur, and the ability for the organization to glean the information necessary to be successful diminishes.
So, train your supervisors on the essential skills of communicating. Address the needs of both seasoned managers and new managers by reducing barriers to training. Include team-building by giving and receiving constructive feedback, emotional intelligence and building trust and relationships. Your local Vital Learning affiliate can help you build your organization’s communication training strategies.
Empowered with the essentials of communicating, your managers and supervisors will achieve more in work and life.
Thought for the Day
“The results of our encounters are rarely neutral; they are almost always positive or negative. And although we take these interactions for granted, they accumulate and profoundly affect our lives,”
— Tom Rath, Author of How Full Is Your Bucket?
Leadership Matters and Vital Learning
Melodae Morris is the founder of M Morris Group specializing in people, process, performance and productivity.
Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International