Great communication is one of those aspects of business that seems so simple yet stands as the foundation of any successful company. If you can’t communicate well with your team, you’ll never get the company’s mantra across, and you’ll end up with missed deadlines and a lot of confusion. So, how can you improve your communication skills as a manager?
Building a set of communication skills isn’t that simple. The workplace is changing, with many companies adopting a hybrid model, which makes this much harder than it used to be. Plus, as a manager, you’re the one who’s meant to deal with any company conflict and establish relationships with the entire team.
Alas, there are ways to make your work life a lot easier. And you don’t need to be that extroverted dude with heaps of confidence to achieve them. It’s just a matter of taking a few actionable steps to improve your communication skills, whether verbal or written. So, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of these.
What Is Effective Communication
Before that, though, you’ll need to get a good grasp of what’s deemed effective management communication. And, no, providing the odd, generic feedback every couple of months isn’t part of this.
Effective communication is all about getting your point across or sharing information with company members in a concise and timely manner. Simply put, it’s all about being transparent with your team while being open to receiving and giving feedback at any point.
The Benefits of Good Management Communication
As you can understand, there are quite a few benefits to implementing good communication as a manager. For starters, you build immense trust with your team, which increases their morale and makes every member feel included.
Plus, with the right communication skills in place, you’ll enable everyone on the team to get involved in brainstorming and decision-making. This, in itself, is much better than being the old-school boss who just barks orders and expects everyone to be at peak productivity all day.
But we know what you’re here for. You want skills… actionable ones at that. So, have a go at these first few.
5 Practical Ways to Improve Internal Communication in the Workplace
Practicality is key in improving internal communication as a manager right now. We could yap about all the virtues you’ll need to have as a leader, but just following these few operational changes is a much better starting point.
Have Weekly Meetings
Most companies are already implementing weekly meetings on certain days at specific timeframes. Sure, some employees might despise these, but that doesn’t change the fact that having a meeting each week will do wonders for your organizational communication.
For instance, if you set recurring calls on Mondays, where you go through the progress of the latest project, the team will stay on the right track. Plus, compared to monthly meetings, weekly ones allow for much more flexibility in the case of a change in strategy, goals, or objectives.
Provide a Platform For Anonymous Employee Feedback
Following an employee-first approach to your communication as a manager is vital. But, truth be told, most employees prefer to avoid the potential conflict that their feedback could bring. There’s a very easy way to change that: anonymous feedback.
This allows your entire team to provide you with their opinions and thoughts on your work. Not only will this build a much more personable relationship between manager and employee, but it’ll also help you understand what issues your team is having.
Embrace Mobile-First Communication
This might seem counter-intuitive. Mobile-first communication also means that employees and managers are available 24/7, as we’re always on our phones, right? Well, while this may be true in some toxic work environments, you can implement it in a better way.
By prioritizing mobile-first communication, you’ll be able to send and receive swift replies because of the flexibility of mobile phones. Compared to emails, calls, or daily meetings, employees find it easier to reply to a quick text message.
To implement this, though, you’ll need a set of communication tools.
Utilize Communication Tools
Be it Slack, Asana, or any other project management platform, all of them can be extremely helpful in internal communication. While emails are still the norm in most workplaces, these communication tools are incredible in that they act like chat apps that you can simply turn off after work.
Think of this. Having a group chat with your team on WhatsApp will complicate your work-life balance, as you’ll be answering work-related questions one moment and talking to your wife the next. Instead, when you use Slack, you can dedicate all work inquiries to the app without mixing everything up with your personal life.
Promote Authentic, Personal Communication
One of the most challenging things in any workplace is authentic and personal communication. Most of the time, employees want nothing to do with their team outside of work. We believe that the real problem lies in how communication is established in the workplace.
By promoting a more personable approach, your team will feel like they are valued members of a community rather than just being parts of a workforce in the office. To do this, though, you’ll need to employ this approach yourself at work.
We think that these next few skills will help you to do so.
5 Communication Skills to Master as a Manager
Besides taking some steps to improve your communication skills as a manager, you’ll have to consider an overhaul of your interpersonal discussions as a whole. So, here are some of the skills you’ll need to apply to do so.
Most employees complain that their managers are these know-it-all folks who only care about output. Why would someone try to talk about some personal stuff with such a person?
That’s why you need to become the opposite. Be approachable, encouraging your team to come to you for help when they’re dealing with some personal issues. This way, they’ll open up both on a personal and a professional level.
By being approachable, you’ll get your team to come to you. But what if you’re never available because you’re always in meetings? Or, what if, for some reason, you never seem to have time when a team member needs to get some things off their chest?
You see, being available is equally important. Of course, you don’t need to be available at all times, as you’d lose a lot of productivity points. But, if you’re in a physical office or one of those fancy online workspaces, have your door open at certain timeframes to let your team know you’re there for them.
This is a big one, and it’s not that hard to implement. In general, everyone wants to take the initiative in a conversation and just talk. That’s why you’ll be better than that, and instead of actively yapping, you’ll actively listen.
Actively listening is the cornerstone of improving your communication skills. To do this, you’ll simply have to listen to what your employees say and engage with them by asking purposeful questions.
Non-verbal cues are arguably more important than what you write on a document or say in a meeting. If you’re always slouching when approached by your team or zone out when a member is talking in your weekly call, nobody will consider you the great leader that you are.
We heavily promote having strong body language to our clients. This means standing up straight when talking to your team, nodding while actively listening to them, and having an open stance to look relaxed.
One thing that many managers do is expect their team to know exactly what outcome they’re looking for during every project. This usually leads to bad results, missed deadlines, low morale. You know, the whole shebang.
To avoid this, be transparent with your team. This doesn’t mean that just being clear with your goals is enough. Be open to criticism from your team, and provide feedback when necessary.
5 Actionable Steps to Engage With Your Entire Team
Then again, just being transparent with your team isn’t enough. You need to actively engage with every single member, as this will ensure that productivity remains high and overall happiness stays even higher.
Even though these can be time-consuming, having a 1:1 meeting with everyone on your team is crucial. These can be separate from those weekly meetings, and they don’t necessarily need to last for too long. Instead of sending a simple email, hoping on a quick call is usually better.
In terms of communication, this can help you get a grasp of each individual’s personality and tone. In turn, as we’ll see below, you can take a unique approach when providing them with feedback or assigning them work.
Have Non-Work-Related Discussions
This one’s somewhat controversial. Again, employees like to separate their personal life entirely from their work life. That’s something that managers need to do more often, to be fair. But, having a non-work related discussion doesn’t translate to talking about your ongoing personal issues.
Instead, it’s all about sharing your personality with the team and getting the same back from them. So, set some time aside for the occasional travel story or those crazy part stories from college.
Personalize Your Approach
As a manager, one of your duties is implementing a certain tone whenever you’re addressing individual members of your team. Some employees love raw, unfiltered feedback, while others are more introverted and prefer a calmer approach.
No matter the case, you’ll need to understand your team’s personality and adapt to it accordingly. Doing so will help you build rapport with them and get your communication to the next level.
Focus on the Future
Managers have to live today but always think about tomorrow. The same applies to how you treat your team. That’s why you must weigh your words before you speak, evaluating how they will be interpreted by each member of your team.
Provide Context For Everything
One of the most difficult communication skills you’ll need to build as a manager is providing context. While you might have a clear idea of why doing a specific task will help one of your employees grow, they don’t.
So, context is key. Always explain the “why”, and you’ll definitely notice your team being inspired to work on future projects.
5 Fun Activities to Hone Your Team’s Communication Skills
Effective communication and productivity usually go hand in hand. But being more productive at work as a manager doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be an effective communicator. Instead, try some of these games and activities to productively unwind and keep team morale high!
Broken Telephone: Imagine sitting in a circle, whispering a message that ends up hilariously garbled by the time it comes full circle. It's a fun reminder for managers to keep communication crystal clear with their teams.
Charades: ****This classic game involves acting out words or phrases without speaking, making it a super fun way to strengthen non-verbal communication skills while bonding with your team.
Two Truths and a Lie: In this game, team members share personal facts, including one that's a fib. It's a lighthearted way for managers to get to know their team better and build stronger connections.
Blind Back-to-Back Drawing: Just picture two teammates sitting back-to-back, trying to describe and draw something without seeing it. It's a playful exercise that encourages precise communication and teamwork.
Casual Debates: Engage in friendly discussions and debates on various topics, embracing different viewpoints. This not only hones your communication skills but also fosters a collaborative and open atmosphere within your team.
Elevate Your Communication Skills With Wave AI
Good communication skills are the key to becoming a mentor for your whole team as a manager. While the skills we mentioned above might seem easy to implement on paper, they’re as complicated as building good work habits.
That’s where coaching can help you. By keeping you accountable and acting as a sparring partner, productivity coaches ensure you are as competent a manager as you are a human in your personal life.
At Wave, we do things a bit differently, at a fraction of the cost. With the help of AI and asynchronous coaching, you’ll get urgent responses and feedback from leading coaches in the productivity space!
Interested in starting working on your goals? Book your first session now.
15 Ways To Motivate Your Employees as a Manager
Motivation can truly move mountains. That is, corporate mountains, of course. Unless you know of anyone who can turn motivation into giants, in which case they might move actual mountains. And, as a manager, one of your duties is to ensure your team of employees stays motivated at all times.Yet, that doesn’t happen very often. You see, many managers and leaders come to us with one regret from their workplace. Their teams are just not motivated enough to get the new projects done efficiently. It’s not necessarily a productivity thing, it’s just that they can’t seem to get the employees on the same page. Or on the same mindset.
The Art Of Delegation – 30 Steps To Delegate Tasks as a Manager
You’ve definitely had those days where your workload is just off the roof. Or up to the roof, to be exact. And, yes, overworking is kind of promoted nowadays. But, as a manager, delegation is a skill you must attain at some point. And I’m talking about effective delegation.You see, effective delegation is about finding the right task for the right person. This will help them grow and help you have an extra hour of sleep or personal time every day. That’s a win-win in my book.Yet, the art of delegation is somewhat of a taboo. No leader, no manager likes to load their team with more of their tasks. Even if they work on these menial things more than anyone else. That’s where I come in and say, “No, guys and gals, you need to delegate some tasks to some folks”.
Leadership Insecurities: 12 Steps To Overcome Them
Overcoming leadership insecurities will take you a lot of time. These are usually fed by some deep self-doubt in your personal life. And, as we know, fixing up your personal life while trying to manage a team and overworking on that new project is about as easy as getting out of bed on a freezing Monday morning.