Whether it’s improving team relationships in your organisation to get everyone on the same page or motivating those that need a little boost, it’s clear just how important communication is in the workplace. With effective communication skills, you can remove any obstacles which detract from efficiency and collaboration.
With studies showing many cite ineffective communication as the reason for failure in the workplace, here are the skills you need to help your team become more efficient.
- Work on Your Active Listening
- Know Your Audience
- Show Empathy
- Be Responsive
- Be Friendly and Approachable
- Offer Feedback and Recognition
- Practise What You Preach
Work on Your Active Listening
A crucial communication skill could involve you not speaking at all. People who are active listeners are more approachable and trustworthy because of the time, attention and respect they give to those wanting to get a lot off their chest.
A good way to improve this is by only focusing on the person speaking to you. Avoid any distractions like email or phone notifications and thoughtfully respond to each question they ask you. The more you listen and show you’re a shoulder they can lean on, the more they’ll think highly of you and know they have a manager they can rely on.
Know Your Audience
Another handy skill to keep in your communication arsenal is to adapt your style depending on your audience. If you excel in one style of communication, that’s great, but it doesn’t mean everyone in your team will be responsive to that style or become more efficient because of it.
Instead, they’re more likely to become more efficient when you communicate with them in a way they prefer so it shows you’re catering to them.
The first step is to try and find out the most effective format to communicate with your team. Along with how each individual communicates, it also depends on the situation you’re in. For example, some team members might prefer a formal email while others would be perfectly happy if you filmed a quick little video update and shared it with them. Whichever method ensures efficiency, utilise it across the team.
Just imagine having a difficult conversation with a member of your team and not showing any empathy. When that conversation is over, you can guarantee they won’t be as productive or as efficient. By showing empathy, it shows you understand and share the emotions of others.
Whether it’s team-wide or on a one-on-one basis, understanding your team’s emotions and selecting appropriate responses helps them know you’re a reliable figure. Let’s say somebody is expressing anger or frustration during a conversation - empathy can help you diffuse the emotion.
By not showing empathy or not acknowledging how your team is feeling, it would be no surprise for them to be more inefficient and not motivated. Work on this skill and utilise it where necessary to create a more productive team.
If someone from the team sends you an email and it takes you weeks to reply, it’s no surprise if they don’t feel motivated to work under you as their manager. Whether you’re returning a phone call or simply replying to an email, fast communicators are typically viewed as more effective than those who are slow to respond.
A good way to work on this skill is to consider how long your response will take. If it’s complex and will take you a while, communicate that you’ve got their message and you’ll respond in detail when you have some time. If you can answer them within a couple of minutes, it could be a good idea to address it as soon as possible.
The nature of the message doesn’t matter. How fast or slow you are to communicate shows your team how much you value them. Respond quickly and you’ll notice how much more appreciative they are.
Be Friendly and Approachable
An efficient team is one that knows they have a manager who believes in them and has an open door policy. So if they think you’re cold or unapproachable, then they probably won’t be as motivated. While friendliness and being approachable aren’t communication skills themselves, it’s your actions and words within each one that matter.
When you’re honest and kind, you foster trust and understanding. As a manager, keep a positive attitude, open mind and ask questions. Even if it’s small gestures like asking how someone’s doing, how their weekend went or random praise when they don’t expect it, it can help your team foster productive relationships with you and each other.
It’s also a good idea to check-in with your team regularly. Doing this in-person lets everyone voice their opinion and empowers them in their role.
Offer Feedback and Recognition
Whenever you get the chance, provide your team with feedback and recognition rather than only highlighting when things don’t go to plan. You never know when someone in your team needs a little boost and a little can go a long way. Showing appreciation costs nothing and is a simple courtesy everyone will remember.
At the same time, encourage feedback as well. Don’t just speak and walk away as this one-way method of communication doesn’t really benefit anybody. Give your team the platform to offer you feedback so you can measure the effectiveness of your style of communication.
This not only allows you to see where you can improve but it also shows your team how much you value them. When they feel valued, they’re inclined to work harder and be more productive.
Practise What You Preach
If you’re 100% dedicated to improving communication within your team and improve efficiencies, then one of the best skills is to combine it all, embody it and do it yourself as well. When you practise what you preach, your team picks up on it.
As a manager, your team will look up to you and how you act. When you consider that only 26% of employees strongly agree their managers showcase the values they expect from their employees, it’s a good idea to make effective communication the norm in your organisation so they follow your lead.
When you’re not communicating, your team won’t either. When your team isn’t communicating, poor performance usually follows. Avoid that entirely by improving your own communication skills and setting the standard for your team to follow.
Obviously, that’s easier said than done. Along with the skills and methods we’ve mentioned above, you need to consider other aspects like your confidence, body language, speaking in public and much more. To help, we’ve created the Communications Skills Handbook so you have all the essential information you need in one place.
The Communication Skills Handbook
Improving team efficiencies starts with you and how much of an importance you place on effective communication. If you want to improve these skills or you’d like to be a more engaging public speaker, then download our helpful guide.
It’s full of tips and ideas you can use right away to improve communication in the workplace. Get your copy using the link below.