Good communication is an essential component in a successful organisation. Through it you can improve the quality of your business, set and attain goals, fulfill the individual needs of your team members, and foster a general sense of commitment and empowerment in the workplace. However, good communication is an art that requires great awareness and practice, and without it, a host of detrimental issues could arise and bring harrowing imbalance to your business.
According to the Conflict Workplace Study conducted by CPP Global in Europe, the U.S. and Brazil, out of 5000 questioned employees of all levels, 85% experienced conflict to some degree, and 29% do so “always” or “frequently.” These numbers come at a cost for the companies involved: in average, an employee spent 2.1 hours per week dealing with the consequences of conflict, 25% saw it result in sickness or absence, and 9% had a project fail due to it. If employees possess the ability to express their struggles, and management has the skills to facilitate resolution, a great deal of setbacks can be avoided and your team will be able to focus its energy fully on your goals. Here are some very important tips to get you and your team on board for excellent communication:
1) Connect with your team regularly
Meet with your employees on a regular basis and ask them to share their thoughts and feelings, with a problem-solving intention. A study published by SagePub found that team meetings can greatly influence team and organizational achievements, but that the interpersonal micro-processes that take place in a meeting are the defining factor of its success or failure. The way in which members communicate with each other is key, so be a regulator in keeping healthy communication in place.
A good listener is an invaluable team member. Concentrate fully on the message that’s being given, retain the information, and respond accordingly.
3) Be straight forward
Good communication doesn’t equal lengthy communication. You don’t need to talk ad nauseam, give endless presentations, or send very long emails. Focus on being clear in expressing your ideas, discard pompous fillers, and give precise messages.
4) Don’t interrupt
Allow others to finish their sentences, and after they’re done, allow for the conversation to expand their idea instead of jumping on to another topic without resolution on the previous one.
5) Ask questions, don’t make assumptions
How often do you find yourself saying “He/she must have done/said that because…?” Assumptions are a costly sin. If you don’t understand a situation fully, ask the person involved directly instead of filling in the blanks or going to someone else for information. This way, you will be able to make an informed next step.
6) Be open and accessible
Research by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson shows that when employees feel that by talking to their bosses or managers they’re not putting themselves or their job at risk, and that meaningful action will be taken after they bring their issues up, they are empowered to use their “upward voice,” or communication with their superiors. Give your team members the freedom to express themselves to you, and honor their trust in you by handling the information they give you responsible and sensibly, so you can support them in solving their interpersonal issues and prevent costly escalations.
7) Build a culture of trust and respect
You are the source of excellence in your business. As you operate with respect, you’re communicating to your team members that this is the primary way of being in the workplace. Instill accountability, but don’t berate others when they make mistakes. Correct others with professionalism, and own up to your own missteps. When you carry yourself honorably, you inspire those around you to do so as well.
8) Implement social intranet software
One of the most frustrating setbacks an employee can experience in the workplace is the inability to effectively communicate with those he needs to, in order to bring projects and daily tasks to fruition. Research on the use of a company social intranet has found that it may help your team members connect with other members efficiently, reducing communication breakdowns that can bring everyday internal operations to a halt.
Good communication that follows these tips can improve your team’s general attitude and magnify its abilities. Just like a family, when your organization enjoys an environment of emotional safety, it thrives. We encourage you to apply these tips to your everyday interactions to improve your connection with those around you, and enjoy the results.