Most of us can think of one person in our life that seems to be able to easily and clearly express themselves, communicate their needs, and sometimes even disagree with the opinions of others, without upsetting the other person or being met with undue resistance. Read on if you identify with a little of this communication envy and find yourself wondering “why not me!?”
Perhaps you find yourself envying others who seem to action all the above and so well. At the same time, perhaps feel that you just could not express your own needs assertively and with confidence? You may even feel you are not worthy enough for your needs to be considered or met within the workplace, whether it be applying for a promotion or requesting a salary increase.
What about poor communication within the workplace?
On the flip side, the deficiency in effective communication or poor communication within the workplace will inevitably lead to unmotivated staff that may begin to question their own worth in the business and their confidence in their abilities. Most of us have experienced complete demotivation in a past role at some stage in our working life.
To get started, organisations can improve and enhance effective communication between their teams by adopting the following big five strategies:
> Define goals and expectations – think measurable outcomes. So, for managers this means providing clear communication (verbal and written) on the expected key performance indicators. These would need to be achievable goals and outline exactly what is required on any given project. The goals would need to consider the resources and supports available to help the individual achieve this goal. Ensure staff members have a clear and concise understanding of the objectives of their role or particular project and how this contributes to the organisation as a whole.
> Clearly deliver your message – Ensure your message is clear and accessible to your intended audience. To do this it is essential that your choice of words is understood by your addressees and is communicated in a polite and respectful manner. You may have a higher level of understanding based on your years in the role, but do not assume or expect this level of understanding to be exhibited by individuals starting off in the role. Getting your message across clearly without causing confusion or offensive.
> Choose your medium carefully – Once you have created your message you need to ensure it is delivered in the best possible format. While face-to-face communication is by far the best way to build trust with employees, it is not always be the best option, especially during COVID-19 or work from home set ups. Take time to decide whether information delivered in a printed copy would work better than an email or if a general memo will suffice. Often the combination of written and verbal communication is most effective. Also keep in mind that staff members may respect receiving an email or text asking if they have a suitable time to discuss project XYZ, then sending an invite to discuss either over the phone, Zoom or in-person; as this collaborative approach builds trust rather than instil fear.
> Keep everyone involved – Ensure that lines of communication are always kept open and transparent. Actively seek and encourage progress reports and project updates. Checking in with staff or being available via phone at a set time each week can be comforting to staff members. Perhaps a team meeting in the morning to start the day and provide a brief with updates and to provide a forum space for staff to ask or verify any questions to prevent the bottle neck at the end of the project. This is particularly important when dealing with staff working remotely.
> Listen and show empathy – This means putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Trying to understand what they may be feeling, their needs, reasons for not actively showing up and predicting their measurable deliveries. Asking yourself – what might this be. If unsure, asking the individual why this might be. Is there relevant support and resources available? What are the barriers? How can you support them in achieving the goal? Communication really is a two-way process and no company or individual will survive long if it does not listen and encourage dialogue with the other party. Listening shows respect and allows you to learn about any outstanding issues you may need to address as an employer.