Better Communication in the Workplace: The How and the Why
Tuesday February 2nd, 2016
Estimated time to read: 2 minutes, 45 seconds
Without effective workplace communication, businesses cannot reach their full potential because of time wasted on misunderstandings. Productive employees need effective workplace communication.
Four things motivate employees: compensation, a sense of belonging, understanding their environment and the ability to defend their accomplishments. Of this list, three are communication-based.
Follow these steps to create a more effective and productive work environment for your employees and co-workers.
How: Listen Actively
Listening is more than hearing the words that another is speaking. Active listening requires comprehension, achieved by asking questions and caring about responses. Pay attention to non-verbal cues and try to listen throughout the entire monologue before coming to a response.
Why: Builds Trust
When an employee or coworker speaks and feels heard, the experience builds confidence in the workplace. Taking time to formulate a detailed and appropriate response allows the other party to see his or her worth in your eyes, which encourages the other person to return to you in the future, knowing that you will listen and be an advocate.
How: Have Respect
Respecting yourself and the people around you helps to foster an environment of creativity and productivity. Each person brings a unique history, culture and personality, and respecting these allows for common ground in conflict.
Why: Builds Work Value
When people feel respected, they are more likely to value their work and less likely to waste valuable time. Even when disagreements arise, respect allows for compromise where both parties are able to see past their desires and move toward the common company goals.
How: Be Clear and Direct
Do not riddle important business communication with idioms, slang, or anything else that could be unclear. Spend time to figure out the specifics of the project before beginning communication as the project manager. Speak directly, with specific tasks outlined.
Why: Builds Productivity
Speaking clearly and directly allows no room for misunderstanding. When team members understand tasks that are important for to project, they can easily prioritize and work more efficiently.
How: Communicate Face to Face
In today’s digital world, companies are no longer limited to hiring local employees. While this does open up the possibilities of finding the perfect candidate, it also increases the chances for miscommunication. Take advantage of software and technological advancements to communicate face-to-face on a regular basis.
Why: Builds Understanding
Regular face-to-face meetings allow for tone and non-verbal communication to be understood.
How: Be Effective
Similar to the concept of Love Languages, each person communicates differently in the workplace as well. Some people are better able to communicate verbally while others are stronger writers. Communicate in the way that you feel you can be the clearest and most effective. Management should understand the strengths of individual employees and provide opportunities to grow those strengths.
Why: Builds External Communication
Understanding communication strengths helps improve relations between coworkers while building better communication with clients and suppliers.
How: Avoid Excessive Emotion
It is important for employees to work passionately, yet it is important to remove excessive emotion from communication. Passionate individuals may find it difficult to quiet their emotions, but by objectively and logically communicating, it becomes easier to reach compromises and share constructive ideas.
Why: Build Growth
When management and employees are able to communicate freely, an open and creative environment can exist. Ideas flow more easily and growth comes from those ideas. Even when feedback is negative, when done without emotion, it becomes constructive feedback, allowing for growth as a company and as individuals.
How: Focus on Problems, Not Personalities
As human beings, it can be difficult to separate problems from personalities. When we are communicating without emotion, it becomes easier to see solutions instead of attacking someone’s personality. By simply trying to change your mindset, you can come to a better understanding that every problem has a solution.
Why: Build Morale
When you go into a problematic situation and focus on the personalities of the other people involved, everyone leaves the situation feeling unsettled and unheard. Focusing on the problem without letting emotion or personality clashes interfere builds team morale and makes employees feel valued.
How: Be Accessible
It is important for management to always be accessible to the employees. Minimize the middle man by having preset times where employees can come speak to upper management about problems and ideas. Acknowledge that employees throughout all levels of the organization can bring valuable ideas to the table.
Being accessible eliminates the myth that upper management only cares about the numbers. Transparency in all aspects is effective for company morale and strengthened communication. When an organization is transparent, it also helps employees to trust in its vision and values.
Transparency, trust, understanding, morale and productivity all play roles in the continued growth of a business. When a company runs smoothly, it is apparent to customers and clients, building their trust and solidifying brand awareness. Happy employees are passionate about their jobs and it becomes contagious in client relations.
Effective communication is the key to growth in all aspects of a business.
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