5 strategies to improve effective communication for managers


The success of your business depends on your ability to effectively communicate with your staff. Transparent communication instils confidence and trust in your management and creates a culture in which employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and ideas.

These five strategies can help anyone in a managerial position to be more effective at their job and accomplish goals faster.

1. Ask your staff for honest feedback

Getting genuine feedback on your performance can be tough. But you’ll discover, as I have, that the more trust your build with your staff, the more comfortable they will be coming to you with great ideas – as well as their concerns.

Unless your organisation already has an informal culture, you’ll likely find that your employees will be hesitant to offer honest feedback. Past incidents with previous employers can make them wary to voice their opinions for fear of negative repercussions. I’ve found that merely promising there will be no negative outcomes for providing honest feedback isn’t always effective. Learned habits and expectations are difficult to overcome. Consider conducting an anonymous survey to help your staff feel more comfortable.

2. Conduct regular one-on-one meetings

Large group meetings are useful for communicating broad strategies and news to your teams. When managing individual performance, one-on-one meetings are necessary. Your staff members should feel comfortable speaking with you in this capacity, so make it clear that you’re listening to their feedback and don’t shy away from offering direct advice that applies specifically to each employee’s position.

I’ve found that one-on-one meetings are best conducted monthly or quarterly. Regular check-ins allow you to keep a finger of the pulse of your teams so you can address challenges as they arise. If you’re taking on a major project, you may want to meet with your team members more regularly.

3. Practise transparency

Perhaps you’re familiar with the strategy of ‘mushroom management.’ It’s a humorous term that describes when employees are kept in the dark about the company’s general state. They receive orders from management without knowing how they apply to the general context of the business.

Don’t keep your employees in the dark. They’ll resent you for it, and may even be more likely to jump ship when things get tough as a result. I’ve found that directness and honesty are greatly appreciated by all. If you’re facing a crisis, don’t attempt to put on a brave face for your team: They’ll see right through you regardless. Offer regular updates on company performance or your staff may begin to imagine things are worse than they really are.

4. Publicly recognise good performance

Who doesn’t like getting praised for hard work in front of their peers? There’s a reason award shows are so popular and social media publicises ‘likes’ and positive comments.

Anytime I see a staff member doing an exceptional job, I make a note of it. When appropriate, I make an announcement in person or over email to share the good news with the rest of the staff. Not only does this make the employee feel good, but it also helps drive others to work harder. In addition, I encourage all my team members to nominate one another when they notice good work.

5. Use technology to improve communication

There are so many tools available today to help managers communicate effectively. Email may be the most popular communication method for today’s business leaders, but emails often go ignored. Consider using instant messaging, social media and other communication platforms to communicate ideas and connect team members with one another.

Interested in learning more? Contact ICML for more information on our tailored in-house communication and interpersonal skills training courses.

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