"Effective Communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know." -Jim Rohn
Building a sense of camaraderie and team spirit can be a difficult task for any manager, and while most know that communication is the foundation of any successful field team, few may realize how complex proper communication truly is. The method, tone, frequency and audience of the communication are all pieces of a complex puzzle. Even if a business has proper communication structures in place, ineffective communications can still manifest in the individual actions of employees and managers.
Here are three common mistakes that all managers should keep in mind when speaking with employees:
1. They're Not Sincere
Employees will quickly be able to tell if managers don’t truly mean what they say. A 2009 study titled “Speech Acts and Recognition of Insincerity” by William C. Mann and Jӧrn Kreutel concluded that:“It was foundational; for certain speech acts to be performed sincerely, the speaker had to have certain thoughts: e.g. the speaker must believe what is asserted. Sincerity is part of the deﬁnitions of such acts.” Being honest and open with employees is crucial to building trust with them, and managers should routinely have one-on-one contact where individual goals are discussed and feedback is given.
2. They Lack Non-Work Interaction With Employees.
Casual communication not only breaks up the expected business communications that managers and employees have, but it helps to develop a bond of trust that comes from the top down. A bond where managers and employees are comfortable conversing about personal matters will drive a culture of accountability throughout an organization—employees want to succeed, especially when their work affects people they care about.
Informal communication is also a way to better grasp employee sentiment. Rumors that spread throughout the organization, or common feelings of discontent with some aspect of how a business is run may not be vocalized formally by employees unless they feel comfortable speaking with management.
3. They’re Not Engaging Everyone
Nobody likes to feel left out, and employees are no exception. Taking the time to recognize employees for the work they do, big or small, can go a long way in boosting organizational morale, and ensuring that every employee is motivated to work to their potential. Giving public acknowledgement to employees who perform exceptionally well makes those feel good, and gives other employees something to strive for. Acknowledgement of the work that is being done day-to-day means that employees will be less likely to lose sight of how their tasks fit in to the long-term goals of the business. Without that acknowledgement, employees can become disenfranchised over time, and the team as a whole can suffer.
Even the best managers should regularly review the way they communicate with their employees, and consult them for feedback on how to do so more effectively. An effective communication structure complemented by the tips above will raise morale across an organization, return better results from employees, and ensure that any future problems that may arise are addressed quickly.