Being able to communicate what’s expected of your employees is critical. But so is creating a dialogue and relationship that makes them want to execute that expectation. How you communicate is as important as what you communicate. What can you do to be more effective?
In Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he includes 3 signs of a miserable job:
· The employee feels unknown or invisible
· The employee feels irrelevant (they fail to see the impact of their work)
· The employee feels their contribution can’t be measured
If you think about it, all 3 of these signs can tie back to ineffective communication. So what can you do to be more effective and end up with folks that actually like their job?
1. Listen. You’ve heard this, read this and know deep down you need to talk less and listen more. It’s harder than you think when you’re the boss with not a lot of time. You just want to say what you need to say and move on. But employees want to be heard. So even when you don’t think you have a minute to spare, take the time to listen to your employee’s concerns. Too often I hear people say, “My boss just doesn’t care about me or what I think”.
2. Communicate the big picture. As a manager, you need to delegate or you’ll drown. But handing tasks off without communicating how they fit into the big picture ends up feeling like you’re dumping. Remember, people want to know their work has impact. Show them how it fits into the success of the team or the organization.
3. Filter corporate speak. If you work for a large company you’re use to getting “talking points” every time there’s a major new initiative or re-organization. Give your employees some credit for understanding what’s really going on and answer questions honestly. Give them additional talking points that make sense for their customers.
4. Adapt to their communication preferences. It’s a huge myth that once you become a boss everyone will cater to your style. The reality is that you not only have to find out what motivates people but how they want to receive information. If you work with millenials, this becomes even more important. Sending out long emails when people want to receive a short text or IM may result in your message not being “heard”. With social media, Skype and new technology every day find out what works and use it.
5. Keep your team informed. No one wants to operate in the dark. For a lot of managers they feel knowledge is power and they’re hesitant to share it. But this causes your employees to feel irrelevant. Keep your team up to speed on pending changes, results to goals, staff reorganizations or anything that might impact their success.
As a manager, especially during difficult times, you can’t over communicate. People want to know what’s going on, they want to be heard and they want to understand their personal impact to the business.