Effective Communication in the Workplace: What Can Managers Do?
Whether your team is working on-site, remotely, or from different locations, effective communication is key to productivity and collaboration. It minimizes miscommunication, strengthens trust, and enhances bonding.
But how do you know if effective conversations exist in your workplace? And how can you, as a manager, improve communication in your team? Let’s find out in this post.
Why is effective communication in the workplace important?
Provides a clear direction for everyone to work towards
Without clear communication, we’re more likely to witness redundant steps in company procedures, tasks that are incomplete or assigned to the wrong people, or work results that don’t match our expectations and standards.
When you communicate clearly, no one has to guess what they need to do and why they’re doing something.
Reduces confusion, misunderstandings, and conflicts
In chaotic work environments such as restaurants or hospitals where miscommunication can cause life-threatening and damaging decisions, effective communication plays a vital role.
Builds a healthier company and team culture
The culture affects your team’s morale on so many levels. If they’re working in a better environment, employee engagement and sense of belonging can increase tremendously.
Betters many other aspects
When the goals are clear, communication is transparent, and everyone enjoys the culture they’re in, you’ll see higher productivity and satisfaction, which results in less turnover.
Effective communication can ultimately lead to a better experience for both workers and customers, stronger team bonding, and an increased bottom line for your organization.
What does effective communication in the workplace look like?
Now that we know how important it is to foster effective communication in the workplace, how do you know if it ever exists in your team?
Let’s look at these factors:
The right tools & methods
The first factor to think about is if your organization has the right tools and methods to communicate. Do your team members know which channel they should use and what steps to take to send a leave request or ask for a shift replacement?
Tasks, instructions, and feedback should be clear enough so that listeners can understand what you say right away. List out the steps. Find facts and data to back your arguments up. Don’t send incomplete and subtle messages.
Polite and respectful attitude
In chaotic situations, people easily get irritated and disrespectful. Of course, it’ll be unprofessional to yell at your team or say things you’ll regret later. You can be firm with your messages while being calm and polite.
What are common mistakes that affect effective communication?
People vary in the way they communicate. There are many factors that cause differences in communication: generations, personal preferences, cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, interpretation styles, etc.
Millennials and Gen Zs may care about and talk about different topics. A Gen Z worker and a Gen Y worker may interpret an emoji differently. Some prefer texts and emails while others prefer in-person conversations or video calls. Some are straightforward, while some choose indirect ways to talk to avoid offending others.
The differences can even be more profound if you manage a diverse workplace with people coming from various cultures and backgrounds. Cultural differences affect a person’s viewpoints and beliefs a lot, so it can be challenging for managers to maintain harmony in communication.
Lack of transparency
Transparency in communication includes not withdrawing information from your team or refusing to discuss their concerns.
Trust glues everyone together, and if your organization lacks it, the team’s morale can be affected. When you’re willing to talk transparently, you’re building trust.
So, communicate transparently and often. Talk to your team about the good news and the bad news.
Lack of effective listening
You may lose your attention at some moments or focus too much on what to say next, and forget to listen to what the speaker is actually saying.
You should talk about important matters when you’re alert and attentive so that information doesn’t get lost or misinterpreted.
Assumptions and judgments
Inconsiderate assumptions and judgments are huge sources of conflicts and dissatisfaction. You should gather enough information before jumping to a conclusion or making comments on anything.
Unsuitable body language and facial expressions
Our body language and facial expressions don’t always match our spoken words. But in some situations, unsuitable gestures may cause misunderstandings.
When you listen to your coworker with an exhausted face, they may think you’re bored when maybe you’re just tired. So, no matter how tired or irritated you are, you should pay attention to your body language.
What can managers do to enhance effective communication?
Choose the right communication tools & methods
With the help of technology, we have all kinds of channels to communicate. Each works best for certain situations and participants.
Talk to your team about the channels and methods your team can use to communicate. Then, you can decide whether real-time communication in Slack or asynchronous discussions on Twist will best suit your purposes.
If you plan to establish a communication procedure, you can write policies and instructions about which channels to use, for what teams, when, and how. Onboarding new hires and helping current team members will also be easier when there are clear instructions to follow.
Connect members and teams
If your business has multiple teams, it might be challenging to bond everyone. Although it may look like each team works separately, the results of one team can affect all of the other teams.
You can use tools that help with collaboration such as a workforce management app or a project management app. Organize team building activities to build good work relationships and connect people on a more personal level.
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Find solutions for the differences
We’re all different from each other in some ways, and that will cause conflicts in communication.
Some people may feel annoyed to scroll through hundreds of messages because they prefer direct, in-person conversations. Some prefer well-thought-out emails, while others view writing down everything as a waste of time.
Managers need to balance the differences, resolve conflicts that may happen, and reach mutual solutions.
To do so, find out the preferences and personalities of your team members. Do they prefer to communicate in certain time frames that work best for their circadian rhythms? Do they like freedom or structured conversation? Writing or talking face-to-face?
Provide communication training programs
Providing training is an efficient way to upgrade the communication styles in your workplace.
Hire or invite coaches or experts to talk about how to convey ideas effectively or to help workers who are struggling with communication.
Create videos, guidelines, and a knowledge hub so your employees can find the information they need at any time.
Open your door to questions and feedback from employees
Communicating with your employees will always reveal useful insights on how you can improve your management and business. Not just that, when employees are heard, they feel a sense of inclusion and belonging. Ask what they think. Discuss what bothers them. Let them ask questions. Provide timely feedback often.
Promote effective communication in your workplace culture
To keep effective communication mutual in your business, it should be promoted right from the workplace culture, from the way you manage your team to the way they take breaks.
We have some suggested activities for you:
- Communicate and discuss goals, steps, preferences, etc. in a transparent way.
- Organize activities to bring everyone closer, especially for new hires and temporary workers who may feel lost and left out.
- Encourage breaks for recharging energy, having snacks, or chit-chatting.
Play a game to get to know each other
Games may sound silly, but they are one of the fastest ways to push people closer together.
One game that we find useful is to let each person write down their communication preferences in a funny way and share them with the team. For example, you might say “I may yell if someone talks to me while I have my headphones on”.
This is funny and light, while everyone in the team can learn about each other’s preferences in communication.
Create a central space for team communication
Many businesses use emails or chat apps to exchange work information. The common problems include constant switching between different apps, mixing business with personal life, and important messages getting lost.
You should create one central space for your team to communicate, so they can be on the same page without getting caught up in the noise. They just need to go straight to one that space to get work information and then get their job done.
Bolstering effective communication in the workplace can be challenging for managers. You have to not only think about the overall team culture, but also care about each employee. That requires you to identify barriers, mistakes, and conflicts, then find suitable solutions to enhance collaboration.
With the help of the right tools, it’s possible to keep everyone informed and updated while still having time for other matters in your business.
Camelo gives you a central place for scheduling shifts, tracking work hours, and communicating with your team. Sign up for a free account today: