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Do You Need Better Communication?

Business Edge-smart growth strategies-marcia[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap]F YOU ASK business leaders and managers what is standing in the way of greater effectiveness in their organization, most will answer, “We need better communication.”

Poor communication does account for a multitude of workplace woes — including interpersonal conflict, wasted money and effort, poor productivity, legal exposure, low morale and high turnover. Most of these problems are preventable or correctable if you take steps to ensure the adequate exchange of information.

Before you can attack the problem, you will need to make an assessment of the sources of your team’s or company’s troubles.

communicationThree Reasons for Communications Difficulties

  • Ineffective relationships and information flow among managers and their employees.
  • Lack of the proper systems and infrastructure to enable effective exchange of information.
  • Breakdowns in communication by management to employees during tough times.

First, Focus on the Communication Skills of Managers

Realize that some of your managers could benefit from honing their communications skills. The saying that “people do not leave their jobs, they leave their bosses” is overused, but true. In employee exit surveys, the most frequent employee complaints about former supervisors involve poor communications skills.

Everyone is not born a great communicator, but most of us can learn. Here are three things a leader can do to have better communication with and between employees.

  1. Make personal contact
    In this age of electronic communication, far too many managers use email, or now texting, as a substitute for personal interaction. Would you try to arrange and close a deal with a large customer via email? Would you hire a key executive without meeting this individual? Of course you wouldn’t. Even if it’s daily business, direct contact will help create better rapport, trust and engagement.
  1. Establish clarity and intentions.
    When you give instructions or discuss a business situation, don’t assume that everyone understands you. Often, different people make different interpretations of the same information, and proceed in good faith to do the opposite of what the manager expected. Effective communication results from a two-way process of asking the right questions, getting feedback and confirming a common understanding of a course of action.
  1. Give meaningful feedback.
    While an annual formal performance evaluation is a valuable communications tool, do not limit feedback to a once-a-year event. People do not like surprises, and they want an opportunity to develop and improve throughout the year. Provide continuing, constructive, on-the-job evaluations focusing on situations as they arise, while they are still fresh in everyone’s memory. Do not forget to highlight the positive as well as the negative.

Smart Moves Tip

In today’s fast paced environment trying to juggle multiple priorities, it is easy to forget that an important part of a manager’s job is communicating. While it is totally appropriate to make employees aware of your time pressures, it’s critical to carve time out of your schedule for regular one-on-one and group employee meetings to discuss their concerns, questions, and ideas. Consistent attention to improved communications on all fronts is well worth the effort. The process will result in a more motivated workforce, which will in turn, save time and money and foster continuing growth and productivity.

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Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidlehttp://www.smartmovescoach.com
Marcia Zidle, The Smart Moves Coach, is a national known board certified coach and keynote leadership speaker who guides organizations that are planning, or in the midst of, ambitious growth and change. As a career strategist, she works with professionals, managers and executives who want to build • shape • brand • change • vitalize their careers. She’s been selected by LinkedIn’s ProFinder as one of the best coaches for 2016!Her clients range from private owned businesses to mid-market companies to professional service firms to NGO’s. With 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience, she brings an expertise in executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change; career building and development; emotional and social intelligence. Your Future Starts Now With Marcia!

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CONVERSATIONS

  1. What an interesting question Marcia and oh yes, we all need better communication in all aspects of our lives. This is particularly true if we find ourselves ‘communicating’ with people of different races, cultures and religious backgrounds. This ‘communication’ goes beyond the verbal, as body ‘communication’- language becomes vitally important. I recent read an article by Mike Kermode wherein he states: quote

    “Almost everyone lays claim to having ‘excellent communication skills’, and every job requires them – but what does it really mean? And what does it mean to have these skills when it comes to your job?

    Most jobs need good communicators, people who can express themselves clearly and positively, both verbally and in writing. It’s one of the key ingredients of success, so it pays to understand what’s involved – and there’s more to ‘good communication’ than the obvious.

    The problem is that ‘good communication skills’ is a phrase so overused, and so broad, that it’s hard to know what it’s really saying.

    Having good communication skills in the workplace is all about being able to convey information to people clearly and simply, in a way that means things are understood and get done. It’s about transmitting and receiving messages clearly, and being able to read your audience. It means you can do things like give and understand instructions, learn new things, make requests, ask
    questions and convey information with ease.

    It also means that you can adapt yourself to new and different situations, read the behaviour of other people, compromise to reach agreement, and avoid and resolve conflict. In fact, a large part of good communication is about being empathic, so you can understand how others will interpret your words and
    behaviour. And don’t forget that communication is a two-way street, so being a good listener is vital.

    Good communication skills are some of the simplest, most essential and most useful tools for success you can possess. In fact, they are probably the number one ability sought by employers.” Unquote

    When we take the time to acquire and hone good communication skills we open yourself up to better relationships, more career opportunities, increased self-confidence and reach higher levels of mutual understanding and cooperation while successfully attaining our goals.

    Of course, all new skills take time to refine, but with effort and practice we can develop good, even exceptional, communication skills.

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