Communication makes the world go round. It facilitates human connections, and allows us to learn, grow and progress. It’s not just about speaking or reading, but understanding what is being said – and in some cases what is not being said.
Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess
As we embark on a new year with new possibilities I’d like to emphasize, what is a large piece of my coaching and consulting work, communication.
Good communication is the foundation to any successful team. It is a key tool in achieving productivity and maintaining strong working relationships at all levels of an organization. To be truly effective in communicating with others, it is essential to move away from natural preferences and instead understand the target audience and what will resonate with them/their natural preference and reflect back to them.
The Importance of Good Communication
Employers who invest time and energy into delivering clear lines of communication will rapidly build up levels of trust amongst employees, leading to increases in productivity, output and morale in general.
Poor communication in the workplace will inevitably lead to unmotivated staff that may begin to question their own confidence in their abilities and inevitably in the organization.
Take steps to build on communication
With circus – I choose to use that vs circa because it captures the excitement and variety in my work! – 20 years of experience working with groups and individuals, I understand the value of good communication. Below, I’ve outlined some of the key areas where organizations can improve and enhance their communications:
Define goals and expectations – Managers need to deliver clear, achievable goals to both teams and individuals, outlining exactly what is required on any given project, and ensuring that all staff are aware of the objectives of the project, the department and the organization as a whole.
Clearly deliver your message – Ensure your message is clear and accessible to your intended audience. To do this it is essential that you speak plainly and politely – getting your message across clearly without causing confusion or offence.
Choose your medium carefully – Once you’ve created your message you need to ensure it is delivered in the best possible format. While face to face communication is by far the best way to build trust with employees, it is not always an option. Take time to decide whether information delivered in a printed copy would work better than an email or if a general memo will suffice.
Keep everyone involved – Ensure that lines of communication are kept open at all times. Actively seek and encourage progress reports and project updates. This is particularly important when dealing with remote staff.
Listen and show empathy – Communication is a two way process and no company or individual will survive long if it doesn’t listen and encourage dialogue with the other party. Don’t forget to pause and listen, pause long enough that the audience feel there is enough room to voice questions. Listening shows respect and allows you to learn of any outstanding issues you may need to address as an employer.