In a recent sales training blog, we discussed why communication breaks down in the workplace and how this can hinder employee engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity. Communication in the workplace has been a popular topic since remote work disrupted our world. It continues to be an important theme as businesses set new requirements for the future of work. We want to talk about communication again, but this time from a management perspective.
Communication breakdowns can start from the top. As a leader, it’s your job to take ownership of team communication and collaboration. You must head off any potential communication issues as soon as you become aware of them.
Let’s revisit some of the factors that lead to poor communication in the workplace and talk about what leaders can do to communicate effectively and successfully.
Unconfirmed Understanding and Lack of Clear Objectives
When a request or an assigned task is left open to interpretation or not clearly defined, and your employee doesn’t feel comfortable challenging you on your request or doesn’t take the time to clarify, frustration ensues. Often, quality of work suffers as well.
What Can You Do?
You and your employee working toward the same goal on a task or project is imperative to achieving success. So, make sure your direct reports are comfortable voicing their concerns. Don’t treat phrases like, “I don’t understand why I’m doing this” or “I’m unsure how this task will help us achieve our goal” as objections to the task itself. View them as simply requests for more information. Encourage clarification questions in your one-on-ones and team meetings. Send meeting recaps that include ideas and projects discussed and defined next steps. Finally, set tangible goals for your sales reps so their expectations are crystal clear and you can assess their performance.
Poor Communication Skills
Some people are simply not skilled communicators. If you have sales reps on your team who don’t seem to communicate naturally, this is where a training module that focuses on a model of communication can be helpful.
What Else Can You Do?
Understand how each person you manage communicates by taking a team assessment. One of Carew’s most influential tools in leadership development is the SDI® 2.0 assessment powered by Core Strengths. The SDI 2.0 is a highly accurate, scientific measurement of a person’s unique motives and how they use their strengths. It can help you understand why your team members behave the way that they do and build your ability to improve dialogue.
The rumor mill churns when messages are left unclear, and this causes big issues with productive communication among team members.
What Can You Do?
When it comes to big decisions within your company or on your team, share the proper details and be as transparent as possible. It is always best to keep employees updated with current information to suppress the spread of rumors.
Critical workplace communication is now occurring virtually. Without frequent in-person conversations, the messages we need to convey can get lost in translation.
What Can You Do?
Spend time communicating with your remote employees in a variety of ways. Don’t get married to one method. If you frequently text or call them for updates or to simply touch base, try incorporating video calls. Use all the tools you have at your disposal to communicate and share ideas/messages with your team members. Also, a great best practice is to follow-up team meetings and one-on-ones with an email that recaps the meeting details. Without documentation and follow-up, the details of remote conversations are usually easy to forget.
Bringing It All Together
Leaders: proper communication starts with you. There are no bad teams, just bad leaders. Prioritizing healthy communication between you and your team members can increase productivity, improve employee morale, and create a positive work environment/strong team culture.
If communication is an issue on your team, or you are simply looking to improve communication skills, invest in training and assessments.