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7 WAYS FOR LEADERS TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION AT WORK
Leaders who take charge of the company’s goals and progress should also take charge of fostering the right culture that encourages communication.
Here are 9 ways to improve your workplace communication:
1) CREATE A COMMUNICATION-FRIENDLY SPACE
All members of the team should be encouraged to speak up, even if there is a general consensus among members. No one should feel threatened or anxious about expressing their thoughts. Keep a constant flow of communication, even if it’s not directly work related. A silent workplace where everyone is just doing their own thing would result in low engagement levels from the employees. You can start by simple greetings. If your office has doors, keep them open. This is why the concept of a coworking space is a buzz right now, as the environment invites conversations to flow.
2) BE CONSTANT
Instead of the annual review, try as much as possible to have monthly one-on-ones. Chat with each employee for an hour, and use this chance to get to know them better, find any areas they need help with, or simply hear them out.
3) HAVE WEEKLY TEAM MEETINGS
This is where you get everyone to gather and ask questions or share concerns. Managers can update on upcoming projects and such. Set an agenda and keep to it. Avoid long, draggy, unproductive meetings where your employees end up feeling like they’ve wasted more time than doing actual work. You can even include simple icebreaker or energiser games to get everyone involved (and wake them up).
4) LEVERAGE ON TECHNOLOGY FOR FEEDBACK
Have a platform where employees can share anonymous feedback. Some people are better at expressing their thoughts in written words than verbally, as it gives them time to think things through. The anonymity also encourages more honest sharing.
5) COMMUNICATION IS A TWO-WAY STREET
It should never be just top-down or one way. During the one-on-ones, instead of just hearing the employee out or giving your feedback of the employee, ask for feedback from the employees with regards to how you are doing as a manager. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea, then perhaps you should relook at your culture. You can also do it through email, if you send a monthly internal newsletter. Invite them to write back or pop by your office for a chat. Also, keep in mind that the conversation should not be a dead end. A feedback that is given or received should be replied until both parties have talked it out.
6) NOTHING BEATS FACE-TO-FACE
Even with whatever tools and platforms that you have, face-to-face interactions would usually elicit a more sincere response. This has a lot to do with the nonverbals like eye-contact, tone of voice, and the presence (or absence) of a smile.
7) LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN
Communicating is not synonymous with talking. Most people tend to forget the other, even more important component – listening. As the saying goes, we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.