Employees love a leader who can communicate well. It’s true-they do want vision, intelligence, competence, and so on, but they also consistently ask for better communication skills in their leaders.
Now, it’s easy to say that we should communicate better, but what does that really mean? Let’s break down communication into five understandable pieces and focus on one at a time.
Read through the following methods of better communication, then choose one that will be immediately effective at your organization and that you can work on mastering. If you can turn it into a habit, plan on mastering another one after it.
1. Be Responsive to Employee Communications
Back-and-forth dialogue with employees is vital to good communication. You can’t learn much from employees through lectures alone. You have to prove to them that you’re open to a two-way conversation.
For example, if an employee sends you an email, a good rule of thumb is to send any type of response within 24 hours. It can even be a single sentence stating that you will address that question soon. Just don’t leave them wondering if you’ll ever respond.
This same idea applies to voicemail, memos, requests in the hallway to talk, and so on. Show respect to all employees in order to keep communication lines open.
2. Start an Interesting Newsletter Targeted to Employees
Many famous people publish periodic newsletters. Newsletters give readers a certain amount of access to a person who might not have time to converse with everyone but who can write down what they’ve been thinking about and doing that week or month.
If you can send out an informative newsletter on a regular schedule, you can give that experience to your employees. It can be as short as necessary in order to send it on a consistent schedule. Just make sure the content will enhance employees’ work, answer their questions, and give them insights about the company and industry.
3. Be Candid About Necessary Improvements
It’s important to tell employees candidly and courteously what they need to improve. Not every employee will have your high-level perspective, so they may appreciate your insights. Share them for the good of everyone, with integrity.
This starts with setting clear expectations attached to metrics that employees can work toward. Those metrics can even be partially influenced by feedback from employees. Then, if employees are not quite hitting those numbers, let them know honestly what they can do to improve, giving them a vision of their success.
4. Use Communication Technologies
Certain current technologies can enhance communication and reach employees wherever they are. Group text platforms, for example, send group texts to employees’ cell phones, even when they’re away from the office.
Other communication and productivity tools, such as G Suite and Slack, allow better collaboration through online group chats, sharing of in-progress work documents, schedule coordination, and much more.
It’s worth trying out one or more technologies in a small team and rolling out whatever works best to the rest of the company.
5. Hold Meetings That Feature a Town Hall Atmosphere
Effective town hall meetings can make employees feel closer to their leaders. Leaders, in turn, can get useful ideas from employees who are interfacing with customers on the phone, in stores, and online.
This style of meeting takes practice. Leading a good conversation requires honest respect for each person who is talking, a learner’s attitude, and a desire to help. Discuss issues, share new ideas, shake hands, and find out what employees need.
Having a high position in a company doesn’t mean you have all of the answers. You need constant dialogue and quality communication with all levels of your employees. They can give you insights into the latest developments that you really need to be a great leader.
So, pick a communication tip and start building it into a habit!