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It’s a common misconception that powerful communication skills come naturally to some and can’t be taught. Anyone can improve their skills with these helpful tips:
One of the most critical skills you need as a manager is to hear what your team has to say. Re-state their main points, clarify what you think you heard, and focus on absorbing what they say, not your next talking point.
If your team doesn’t have the confidence that you can patiently hear them, they will not come to you with their issues or problems.
Here are some key differences between an effective listener, and an ineffective listener.
When the management has a piece of information to deliver to your team, they will come to you. Your job is to help your team members stay aware and updated with information relevant to them. Be clear and concise while delivering a message. Use short, simple words. Eliminate fluff.
Communicate a message consistently across multiple touchpoints. When employees hear the same message repeated, they’re more likely to take notice and act on it.
Here are some things to think about when delivering a message:
Make sure that you respond well to your team- be it a conflict between members of your team or any general project issue. This requires outstanding attention to detail and the ability to remain calm under pressure.
Take this approach, ‘I am curious about what we could have done differently to achieve a better outcome?’ rather than ‘What could you have done?’ is more helpful.”
Focus on how you communicate with your team. While not every message at the workplace needs to be transmitted through email, verbal communication comes in handy.
Remember to choose your words wisely and set the content well before speaking on any important matters. Maintain a comfortable level of eye contact.
Every time you communicate with an employee, answer the questions:
It must be a challenge to get the most out of your team members. Team management tools and techniques can help you guide and lead your team the best way that you could.
Use project management tools like Trello to delegate various tasks to your team members. This will help get the work done faster. Assign tasks according to each member’s capabilities.
Use Slack or Google Chat to communicate with your team. Use Hangout or Zoom to conduct video team meetings.
Once in a while, you must conduct a brainstorming session with your team. Your team members might have good ideas they’ve never spoken of. With the right direction and motivation from the manager, they will be able to become more open about these.
A brainstorming session also tells the fact that you welcome new and innovative solutions, sending a positive message to team members.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:
Being a manager means solving problems. It’s the foundation of your job. You and your team will inevitably face challenges and conflicts.
A good idea is to establish clear roles and responsibilities in your team. This helps employees respect each other’s work boundaries and go to the right person to get a job done. Instead of answering, when conflicts arise, ask questions that challenge assumptions to help your team find the root of the problem.
Say “When this happens …” instead of “When you do …” Describe a specific instance or event instead of generalizing.
As a manager, it must be your priority to help everyone be on the same page when it comes to their goals. Leverage activities that help your team understand their and each other’s contributions well.
Question their ways of working, tools, and processes: are they the most efficient and relevant to achieve their goals?
Here are some tips you can follow:
Recognition is the recipe for complete success when you’re trying to be a better manager. Your job as a leader is not just to make sure that your team delivers the task but also to appreciate what they do.
Especially when employees are working in a large group, their efforts go unnoticed. Not every employee might be the one to prepare presentations or polish up the end, where most of the efforts are recognized. Some might even be putting up the missing piece at the beginning of a job leading to its end success.
You must go ahead and appreciate your employees using an employee recognition tool like EngageWith. This sends across a positive message and makes them feel valued.
Sometimes a story can do a great job in helping the message deliver effectively. Be it motivation, a lesson you need to share with your team members, or anything else, use storytelling, especially if the underlying message is important.
When a team needs to be motivated, communication in the form of stories will generate a stronger reaction when compared to passive data.
You wouldn’t walk into a Chinese restaurant and order a pizza, right?
Figuring out the communication preferences of your team members is important to ensure that your messages resonate. If you’re not sure about your employees’ communication preferences, don’t be afraid to ask.
Does Employee A prefer written communication over verbal? Send them an email.
Does Employee B seem to respond better during face-to-face meetings? Communicate with them that way.
Writing skills are an essential aspect of communication, no matter what. Most of the formal work has to be sent via emails and other forms of written communication.
Always follow this tip in written communication – use simple and straightforward language to make your messages easily understandable and leave no room for misinterpretation.
Try this exercise next time you send an email or message to your team:
Becoming a great manager means becoming a coach for your team. While getting a job done is your responsibility, don’t forget that helping your team members accomplish a task is on your hands too.
To instruct a team on how to learn a task, use this method:
Every time you present, there’s an opportunity to find out if your team members get what you’re saying or presenting.
How can you do it? Just ask questions like, “What challenges and opportunities do you see with what I’ve explained?” Or “What are your key takeaways from the information I just shared?”
Creating opportunities for asking questions helps you understand in real-time how well your team members receive your information.
Communication is all about delivering information effectively. And as a manager, you must make the moments count, especially in meetings.
It’s necessary to let people know the meeting agenda in advance or provide any information that will help team members better prepare themselves. The worst thing you can do is beat around the bush and waste everyone’s time.
The agenda should include:
What’s the most important thing you should do with your agenda? Follow it closely!
Make sure you communicate the feedback on the performance of your team members. While this might also include improvements, the idea is to help your employees stay positive instead of demotivating them. Give feedback in a timely manner so employees can start improving right away.
Be specific (avoid generalisms) when giving constructive feedback. Here’s an example of constructive feedback on time management issue:
“Thanks for letting me know you’re running behind schedule on this project. Let’s take a look at your goals and see how you’re spending your time — I bet there are opportunities for efficiency there.”
Part of effective communication is one-on-one interaction. This will help you get to know your team’s body language, personality, and tone. In remote work scenarios, try hosting video calls. A one-on-one meeting is a great tool to give and receive constructive feedback.
Previously published at https://www.springworks.in/blog/improve-communication-skills-at-work/
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