Effective Workplace Communication
Effective Workplace Communication
You know you accomplished effective workplace communication when ALL your direct reports clearly understand, 1) what your team is about (mission), 2) how they are expected to behave (values), 3) where you are heading (vision), 4) how they will get there (strategy), 5) what they are supposed to accomplish (goals), and 6) how their individual contributions matter (roles & responsibilities).
Workplace communication is relatively easy to accomplish, yet and unfortunately, it is one of the leadership tools most underexploited.
No wonder so many managers struggle so much to align their team members.
How do you accomplish effective workplace communication?
Effective workplace communication is about five simple habits:
- Several channels
- Walk your talk
- Two-way communication
Repeat, repeat, and repeat some more …
Remember this simple fact: A person begins to believe what she hears, and begins to internalize it after she listens to the same message over and over several times.
However, every single time your repeat your message, you must be honest and genuine about the meaning, substance, and strategic relevance of your communication.
Repetition is useless without genuine sincerity.
Be creative if you will: Use analogies, metaphors, examples, etc., but don’t stop.
Leadership communication is about repetition. Repetition might sound boring, but it is one of the most effective workplace communication tools.
Repetition is indispensable.
If you want ALL your direct reports to clearly understand you, and to truly comprehend all your messages, you must stay away from using any business lingo, industry specific terminology, technical specialized gobbledygook, etc.
Unless, of course, this is the way you always talk among yourselves.
You want to speak with people—don’t talk at them.
Use as many different communication methods as possible.
Be creative here: one-on-one’s, team meetings, memos, emails, office boards, etc.
However—keep note, this is important—the most effective form of communication is personal, AND in an ongoing basis.
If there are two or more hierarchical levels below your rank of formal authority, ask your direct reports to cascade the communication down, and then check at different points throughout your organization to see the effectiveness of your team’s communication.
When necessary, see where the ball stopped rolling down so that you may unclog the flow.
Finally, remember that showing is much more powerful than telling: A picture is worth a thousand words.
Walk your Talk
Lead by example.
The most important ingredient in shaping the culture of the team you lead is your own behavior (as the leader of the team you lead).
As the leader of your team, you must breathe, eat, and always behave according to your team’s values.
If you don’t, you will create cynicism, de-motivation, and resistance to change.
You are the leader, and no matter how much you hide (as the leader, you must never hide), everybody is always looking at you.
Effective workplace communication is a two-way process, in other words, you must always listen for feedback.
Engaging is much more powerful than just telling.
When your direct reports engage in a dialogue, they are more likely to ask questions, to make suggestions, to express opinions, etc.
When your direct reports engage in a dialogue, they are more likely to comprehend it, and to commit to it.
And this is exactly what you want: Engagement, comprehension, and commitment.
These five simple habits will help you immensely in aligning your entire team.
This is a simple tool that it all requires is discipline from your part.
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