A common complaint people have about their workplace is communication – or the lack of. Being able to communicate clearly is an essential leadership skill and, if you manage a team, you have a responsibility to ensure your communication to your team members is clear and concise.
Here are a few tips to help you communicate effectively with your team.
It’s very obvious when you’re talking to someone and they’re not listening. Practise active listening by giving your full attention to the person you’re speaking to. Maintain eye contact (if you can), nod and provide verbal or non-verbal cues to show that you are engaged. Allow the person to express their thoughts fully before responding. There’s nothing more annoying than being interrupted constantly when you’re trying to speak.
Be clear and concise in your communication. To help you do this, spend time organising your thoughts before speaking and articulate your message in a straightforward manner. Make sure you’re specific, particularly if you’re giving instructions to someone. You can’t expect your team members to understand your expectations if you don’t communicate them clearly.
As well as being concise, tailor your style of communication to your audience by using language that everyone can understand. Recognise that individuals may have different communication styles and preferences. Some may prefer a direct approach, while others may value a more collaborative approach. Adapting your communication style can help you connect with others more effectively and you’ll get a better response from them.
Empathy and understanding
Not everyone in your team will agree with everything you do or say. Acknowledge that other people have different perspectives and try to understand these perspectives while showing empathy in your communication. Acknowledging their feelings and validating their experiences will help to foster trust and strengthen relationships within the team.
Don’t forget that not all communication is verbal. Pay attention to your non-verbal cues, such as body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. Be mindful of the messages they convey and ensure they align with your intended meaning. The more self-awareness you have, the easier this will be.
Paying attention to other people’s non-verbal cues can help you understand their emotions and reactions which will give you a better idea of how effective your communication is and whether you need to change the way you’re communicating.
Transparency and honesty are so important when building relationships with your team members. There may be occasions when you can’t tell your team what is happening, for example, if you’re waiting for a decision to be made by someone else, but if your team knows that you’re transparent and honest, they will be more understanding.
Where you can, ensure you share relevant information with your team, especially when it concerns decisions that affect them. Openness builds trust and promotes a sense of shared responsibility.
Effective communication is a skill that develops over time with practice and self-awareness. You might not get it right every time, but if your team trusts you, you’ll create a more productive work environment and you’ll also encourage other people to speak up and share their ideas.
This article was written by Aileen Carson, career and leadership coach. Aileen helps managers in the non-profit sector progress with their careers without burning out. You can get in touch with Aileen via her profile page.
July 30, 2023