This article was originally published on HireEffect.
Open and positive communication is a necessary component of success in business. Of all the successful CEOs with whom I have worked, not one has said his success was the result of operating in a vacuum. All have credited the teams they have built, developed, and led by nurturing professional relationships and fostering two-way communication.
Here are three basic strategies that, when put into daily practice, will change the culture in any organization to one of positive communication.
Ask Questions; Listen to the Answers
Even when only assumptive, too often managers tell their staff members what happened, what caused it, how they should feel about it, what they should learn from it, and what they should do about it. This shuts down communication. It is much more powerful when we as managers ask what happened, what the employees think caused it, how they feel about it, what they learned from it, and how they think they might fix it. Asking “what,” “why,” and “how” questions instead of assuming you already know the answers fosters open communication and development. Managers who already know it all don’t grow, and neither do their employees. Learn to ask questions and to really listen to the answers. And keep in mind that how we listen can either encourage or discourage further communication and interaction.
Ask; Don’t Tell
Employees often tell me that they wish their managers would give them autonomy to do their jobs in their own ways. Unless you’re running an assembly line, presumably, it’s the outcome, not the process, that really matters. People create productivity in different ways and have developed their own habits that really work for them. Trusting your employees to get the job done, and to come to you when they need to, goes a long way in establishing open communication. Employees should not be afraid to try something new or even to make a mistake, as long as they are achieving the desired outcome. There’s a big difference between “Finish this project” and “What is your plan for getting this project completed?” Allowing for creativity in the process and providing support and guidance when asked is a sign of a communicative and collaborative leader.
Too many managers don’t say what they mean, mean what they say, or follow through consistently, leaving their employees (and likely their customers) feeling discouraged. Set and communicate reasonable expectations, decide what you will do, and then do it. (Point of information: Decide what YOU will do, not what you will make your staff do.) This is a natural part of setting your team up for success. Following through means taking action and keeping your word. It is a perfect way to avoid power struggles and other barriers to positive communication. An example might be letting your team know that you will begin your training session at exactly 10 a.m., instead of asking them to be on time. By the way, in this example, you really need to start your session at 10 a.m., even if only two of 10 people have arrived. That’s the “follow-through” part. These highly effective leadership tools will help you create and retain a successful organization based on trust, cooperation and collaboration.
Get started on transforming your company’s communication today by downloading our “Top 10 Tips for Working With a Third-Party Recruiter” below:
Jennifer Scott is the vice president of talent acquisition and strategy at SUM Innovation. With more than 23 years in the recruiting space, Jennifer partners with executives to create connections with the talent they want to hire and the employees they love.
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