7 Tips to Better Manager-Employee Communications

April 10, 2019 | 626 views

7 Tips to Better Manager-Employee Communications
7 Tips to Better Manager-Employee Communications

Poor workplace communication is often blamed for many workplace problems. What is wrong is not always easy to identify, but better communication does help avoid serious problems like injuries, failed projects, and high employee turnover.

Each of us may think we are doing a good job communicating but, as a manager, we may not hear from anyone where we need improvement. Instead, we are frustrated by an employee’s lack of results or unwillingness to share ideas.

There is not a perfect, single solution, but these tips will help improve manager-employee communication. They are easy to implement, too.

1. Be Approachable and Trustworthy

No one will share information and concerns with someone who they deem unworthy of trust. Trust shows itself by being straightforward and honest, and by following through with help when promised. Show integrity in your word and actions to get the conversations going.

2. Set Up Regular One-on-One’s

No need for official meetings per se. Just a weekly or monthly calendar item to check-in with each person whose input and communication is vital to your progress. It could be a cup of coffee or a walk around the block, but be consistent so each person knows you are interested in his or her contributions.

3. Be Thoughtful in Presentation Style

If there is constructive criticism to share, focus on the action or behavior and its impact rather than on the person. Likewise, positive feedback is nice to hear, but it really has an impact when it is presented with an explanation of why an action or idea was successful.

4. Give Good Reasons

Whether an employee likes a project or not, give a good rationale for why their time and effort is integral to its success. A tedious task, for example, can be better tolerated if the responsible employee understands why it is necessary and how it fits into the overall plan.

5. Share Point B Clearly

If everyone on the team knows the end game, it is easier to see where everyone fits in and how one person’s role affects the whole team. There are many ways to reach a goal, but if the process and goal are clear, it will improve performance and commitment toward that goal.

6. Change the Style of Communication

Some employees prefer email and avoid meetings. Others like text and Snapchat. However, take note when the back and forth is getting nowhere, and then make a phone call, or walk down the hall to have a face-to-face chat instead. Even though too many meetings can reduce productivity, sometimes seeing body language and facial expressions is needed to get to the heart of the matter.

7. Ask Questions

And then listen to the answers. So often we think we know someone’s idea or thought. Ask questions, ask clarifying questions, and then ask more. This demonstrates sincere interest and value in another’s opinion and contribution, both of which create a collaborative communication environment in the office.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.   

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