As many businesspeople have experienced during the last 18 months, effective management communication is essential for guiding teams and lifting morale during times of disruption and uncertainty.
Whether communicating with employees has never been one of your top strengths, or you see yourself as a canny communicator, it can’t be ignored that project.co. statistics show eight out of ten people rate their business’ communication as average or poor. Why does communication matter to managers, and how can this share be improved?
What’s the importance of communication for managers and leaders?
There are plenty of reasons why communication is so important a skill for people in leadership and management roles. Firstly, communication means ideas can be properly shared. Results, initiatives, tasks, feedback – if managers don’t know how to talk or don’t put the effort in to do so, the transfer of information that keeps a business moving grounds to a halt.
Second, good corporate communication creates a two-way dialogue. By opening lines of communication between staff, leaders, customers, and suppliers, managers can gain an ever more complete picture of the strengths and weaknesses of their business – plus what needs to be done to move forward.
By talking to staff, a bond of trust is also formed. This makes teams closer-knitted, more able to withstand busier, more stressful periods, and generally be more effective at whatever they’re tasked to do.
Five ways to improve communication
With communication key to the modern business, there are plenty of things you can do as a manager to improve your skills.
One of the simplest ways to improve communication is to work on the clarity of what you are saying. Think about what you want to say before you say it, be specific, and simplify your communications where possible.
Gain professional help
If you have a budget to explore new managerial ideas, then utilising the services of an internal communications consultant can be great way of refreshing your approach to communication. Gaining a third-party eye on what is and isn’t going well cuts through groupthink and cultural impediments to change, giving you a clear view of how you can improve.
Practice email efficiency
In the modern workplace, email is typically the easiest way of communicating with those not sat next to us, however emails can quickly harm business. With McKinsey research finding that workers, on average, spend 28% of their days answering emails, it’s important you only use emails when they are needed – ask yourself whether an instant message or phone call be quicker – and you only address them to those that need to be in the know.
The best leaders don’t just issue diktats, they take on board what their staff and superiors say. The best way to enable this is through active listening, where you focus entirely on the conversation, don’t interrupt, ask questions, and note down the key points.
Carry yourself for communication
Body language can have a big effect on how people perceive what we are saying. Be mindful of your posture, hand gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact when speaking to others – warmth and openness will pay dividends.