There’s no doubt about it: effective leaders drive company success by communicating clearly and concisely with their teams.
Effective communication strategies go beyond the conventional methods of speaking and listening. Communicating efficiently extends to body language, message clarification, tone of voice and how the messaging is delivered.
Treat your team like a moving machine that requires love and maintenance. Communication between all aspects of the machine is crucial to its performance. Coherent communication can improve your team’s productivity, boost their motivation and improve employee satisfaction—as well as customer satisfaction. Furthermore, communication will help to solidify a bond of trust between leadership and team members.
To effectively communicate, leaders must establish these 4 qualities:
We know that small businesses are eager to communicate more effectively. We’re going to share some useful communication tips to increase your company’s productivity, improve workflow and help your team collaborate.
Set Realistic Expectations
According to a study by Gallup, only around half of the employees stated they knew what was expected of them. This highlights a breakdown in communication between the leadership and their teams.
Defining clear expectations from your team can be a difficult task if they’re not all on the same page. As a leader, you need to set attainable goals with realistic deadlines, without burning the team out.
Tailoring how you speak to different members of the team is one of the great steps of effective communication. Developing an individual relationship with each team member builds trust and allows them to feel comfortable around you. When your team is more comfortable it raises their employee satisfaction, and according to a study by Social Market Foundation, happier employees are up to 20 percent more productive.
Solidify your expectations, have regular conversations and invite questions about the designated tasks. Making your tasks clear from the start will communicate what you expect, without leaving your team confused.
How to Communicate More Effectively Through Collaboration
Effective communication in business allows leaders and teams to work harmoniously through projects, without any breakdown in communication and interruptions through workloads. Whether the team is small or large, it can be difficult to establish processes that help the entire team reach the finish line.
According to the National Business Institute, employees admit that leaders that lack set processes waste a substantial amount of their time. This highlights the importance of developing a system of set processes that clearly define tasks and business objectives.
Project management and collaboration tools can help to keep your team regularly updated, as projects progress. Furthermore, you can create to-do lists, schedule milestones and share documents. Even if you work odd hours or you’re out of the office, you can keep your team in the loop at any time of the day.
Improved communication and collaboration can also be done by encouraging your team to partake in team building exercises, social events and training programs. It displays that you’re willing to invest in their future and communicate that you have their best interests at heart.
Lead by Example
As a leader, you may have a biased interest in your company and it can be difficult to share your vision. The cliché of leading the charge has always been at the forefront of effective communication strategies. Leading by example conveys the message that you’re willing to do what it takes for the benefit of the business and there isn’t one rule for you and another for your team.
A team is influenced by their leader’s actions. If the leader acts positively and clarifies what they’re expecting of the team, they respond accordingly. To make your team feel empowered and improve their engagement. Consider leading with these behaviors:
- Make your decisions based on the greater good of the business to reach your objectives. This doesn’t mean throwing the team under the bus, but putting them first. It helps to keep your team connected to the company’s mission and believe in your vision.
- Empathy plays a big part in how to communicate more effectively. Ask your team how you can help or improve their situation to understand them better.
- It’s important to try and find a positive solution to any problem. If things go wrong, be accountable for the mistake, whether it’s yours or not.
Leading and communicating through your actions gives you a platform to translate what you want from your team and transforms your team’s behavior to produce the desired result.
Effective Listening as an Effective Communication Method
We usually don’t consider listening as a form of communication but it’s one of the most effective communication strategies that you can take advantage of.
Effective listening is essentially listening with more than just your ears. Great leaders that implement effective listening adopt an observative skill set that considers their team’s words, tonality and their body language.
Here are ways that you can become an effective listener:
- Avoid prejudgement—refrain from judging your team on their appearance, background or language barriers.
- Allowing responses—let your team finish talking before you decide to chime in. Listen to the complete message and then respond back accordingly.
- Listen for more than facts—famous research from Professor Albert Mehrabian found that only 7 percent of communication is verbal. If you’re only listening for the facts, then you’re missing the emotions, body language and message behind the words.
- Give your full attention—in an age that’s driven by technology, it’s difficult to pry ourselves away from our screens. Giving your team your full attention to effectively listen to what they have to say shows that you care and appreciate their input. Furthermore, you’re less likely to miss their non-verbal cues.
To inspire excellence from your team and become a transformational leader, you’ll need to empathize and actively listen to your team’s needs in conjunction with what they say. When your team feels that you care about them as individuals, they’ll be more inclined to follow your leadership.
Keep Things One-On-One
It’s not always easy to have one-on-one meetings with your team but try to keep reviews and appraisals personal with one-on-one feedback.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 69 percent of leadership find it uncomfortable to communicate with their team. Furthermore, 37 percent of leadership respondents stated they found discomfort in appraising personal performance.
Whether you’re assigning a task, discussing on-going projects or reviewing performance; personal meetings with members of your team give you a great opportunity to understand them on an individual level and discover a communication style that suits them.
A survey conducted by OfficeVibe found that 69 percent of employees stated they would work harder if their efforts were recognized more, and only 27 percent say feedback helps them to work better.
A strong leader uses effective communication strategies to build trust, provide comfort and display empathy. One-on-one feedback, meetings and checking-in to see how your team is doing can display that you’re invested in their future and want to help them excel as a part of the business.
There are no solid guidelines on how to communicate effectively in business. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to adapt to different communication styles to accommodate your team members. Certain members of your team may prefer a direct approach, while others would appreciate a softer touch.
Communication is critical to the success of your company and the strategies above should help you delegate tasks and expand your teams to grow your business. Improving communication between leadership and teams doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor, it involves an investment of time, patience, empathy and the willingness to learn.