“You’re communicating with me way too much,” said no employee to their manager ever.
No successful business has ever become successful without great people managers. But how many businesses have lost great people due to a bad one?
There are many skills needed by a manager but if you want to keep your team engaged and on track, there’s one essential – communication.
When we work with a new client, we’ll often talk to the team individually to get a feel for how they see the business; what they feel works brilliantly and what could be improved. One of the questions we always ask is ‘what do you want from your manager? And nine times out of ten the answer we get is…
“Consistent, regular, and honest communication,”
“We don’t know what’s going on’ they say, ‘we’re kept in the dark’. “When we are given information, it’s too late, or it’s missing important details.”
All too often communication is seen as a touchy-feely skill, a soft skill, and you need to be a touchy-feely person to be effective. But I believe it’s like any other people management skill – it can be learned and continually improved. Everyone can be an effective communicator when they understand how; when they know what it takes to engage a team and keep them on track.
Here are my Super 7 steps to becoming a great communicator.
- Communicate in line with your values – always!
- Learn to be more self aware – to reflect when your communication has been received well, or badly, and constantly look to improve
- Listen more than you speak – really listen to what your team say, and what they don’t say – their body language…and focus on them, not your mobile or laptop!
- Admit when you don’t know something or when you’re wrong – don’t be afraid to be vulnerable because your team will see through any b.s.
- Ask for feedback – ‘How can I improve? What can I do better? What blocks can I remove that’ll make your job easier?’ are all great questions to ask
- Know your people – be able to talk to individuals about the things they care about – their children, their pets, their car, their football team – show that you’re not just interested in what they can do for you and the business.
- Be consistent – keep to your regular meeting times; be present; do what you say you will
Effective communication takes practice and it takes discipline. You’re not going to become a great communicator overnight, and even when you do, there’s always still room for improvement!
But, if you follow these 7 steps, and stay focused on them, you will improve, and your team will be all the more engaged in your business as a result.
Do one thing: Ask every team member for one thing that would improve your communication with them – then act on it.