Employees don't need more information, they need to understand what it means for them
Many smart organizations are realizing the strength from within when it comes to communications - that strength is their managers. Managers can be a source of information, but more importantly they need to facilitate understanding.
Investing to build effective communication skills for managers lets you create shared understanding of strategy throughout your organization, and answer the question “what’s in it for me” for employees.
Effective communicators translate corporate strategy into relevant actionable messages, this way managers can move employees from personal needs:
- What should I be doing?
- What does this have to do with me?
- How am I doing?
…to alignment as a team and to company goals:
- How is my department doing?
- How can I help?
How managers can be effective communicators and facilitate understanding
For organizations looking to get their messages heard and create a productive workplace with engaged employees who are committed to company goals, here are 5 skills your managers need:
- Make messages relevant – Constantly communicate the “why” behind the strategy – why it’s important and the role your team and individuals play.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat – Avoid the “check the box” mentality. Many of us need to hear messages multiple times before we get it.
- Have follow-up conversations and check for understanding - The job isn’t over when the message is delivered. Make sure it’s heard and understood. Ask your team to tell you what they think you said or ask for important takeaways.
- Listen – We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Start with listening, ask questions, allow the conversation to go in a different direction if need be. Ask for feedback.
Initiate a call to action – Communication should increase understanding and drive behavior and actions. Don’t make your team guess. State clearly the actions you need them to take and give examples.
Communication is a skill that takes practice. Some managers communicate well enough to inspire their teams to take an action. They know how to successfully translate strategy into messages and language so their teams understand how their role or department contributes to the company. Many do not. Does your organization have manager communication training so they can help their teams be the best they can be?