World of Work: Seven ways to communicate with your staff

Effective leaders should ask employees for their inputs and be honest with them

Healthy communication is tied to productivity and connectedness at work

Healthy communication is tied to productivity and connectedness at work

 

Effective leaders know that healthy communication is tied to productivity and connectedness at work.

But what should you do if you encounter a communication breakdown? Here are some tips.

If you’re having problems maintaining a sense of connectedness with your team, try using these phrases:

1 “Here’s what I appreciate about you and your contribution.”
Say something specific to your employees like, “I appreciate the way you pull in people from other departments to reach your team goals – you’re a connector.” Leaders need to notice employees’ unique contributions, and let them know that you notice.

2 “Thank you” (personal and public).
Daily interactions – from the elevator to the parking lot – represent opportunities for leaders to show appreciation for their employees’ efforts. Public recognition at a staff meeting, or a thoughtful “thank you” in a newsletter or email, are also meaningful.

3 “What do you think?”
Employees will withhold their best ideas from leaders who always have the “right” answer, or take credit for others’ ideas. You should proactively ask them for their opinions and how they think the company could improve.

4 “Here’s what’s happening and what you can expect.”
Leaders often underestimate employees’ ability to accept “why” if it is shared in an honest way. Leaders will gain deep respect when they share as much as they know as soon as they can share it. Real explanations are always better than no explanations.

5 “I have some feedback for you.”
Don’t wait for a performance review to tell people how they’re doing. A culture of continual feedback is healthy and nimble.

6 “Let me tell you about something I learned the hard way.”
Smart, capable leaders who know their stuff are well respected, but employees like and trust leaders who are not only smart, but can occasionally lean back and laugh at their own mistakes. Don’t be afraid to show that you’re human.

7 Finally, get to know your employees by name.
If the company is too big to know everyone’s name, start with the people in close proximity.

– Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015

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