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In the world of work, there are many frustrations employees face on a daily basis. But according to David Cottrell, leadership expert, author, and speaker, communication is what tops the list of worker frustrations.
A breakdown of communication is not due to the lack of information that is shared in today’s workplace.
Instead, a lack of trust is at the core of ineffective communication.
Earning trust as a leader begins with clearly established acceptable standards of behavior that are communicated by a manager to his staff.
Cottrell says as a leader, it is our job to determine work values, ascertain the rules of the road and decide which behaviors in the workplace are not negotiable.
Once established, acceptable standards of behavior for your team need to be communicated and consistently reinforced. When people understand the rules of the game, they usually do their best to play by the rules of the game.
If an employee makes a move where there is not a right or wrong decision and it does not turn out well, a good leader stands up for the employee. Most of the time decisions are not black and white. When in the gray zone, he says, err on the side of the employee.
One of the best investments of time is teaching the business of the business. The best employees are the ones that understand the purpose of the work and understand how they fit into the big picture.
Teaching the business of the business is the key to building understanding.
Take the time to show the team how all the pieces of the picture fit together.
Isolation results in actions and decisions that can have a negative impact on other people in the organization.
Demonstrate how the team makes a difference to the customer.
Help them understand their impact on customers.
Teach employees the vital signs of the business
Explain what all of the reports and numbers actually mean. Knowledge shared is power multiplied.
Start with the basics and use the open kimono management style-in other words, expose what is really going on under the robe of perception.
Next Provide Feedback
Employees need to know exactly what is required of them and how they are doing.
Be sincere when giving feedback. Be quick and give feedback often.
Employees need to know their manager cares about them and the job they are doing
Schedule a dedicated time monthly to focus on their development.
Get employees involved and ask for their opinion. Surround good people with other good people.
Employees also need to know how the team is doing. Establish unit work goals and expectations. Discuss not only the results of the individual but also of the team. Be available when people need you.
By giving feedback often and quickly, you help them become more effective as a team and as a team member.
And finally, walk the talk.
Don’t make the mistake of saying one thing and doing the opposite and expect co-workers or employees to do what you say.
When you are a walking example of expected behaviors, employees are likely to mimic what you do.
So in synopsis, to be an effective communicator in the workplace:
- Build trust
- Share knowledge
- Provide feedback often and quickly
- And, walk the talk
Following those four valuable rules will help you be an effective communicator and leader.
Does that resonate with you as a leader and as an employee?
If you would like to have further information be sure to check out The Manager’s Communication Handbook David Cottrell and Eric Harvey. Other books by the authors can be found on Amazon and in bookstores.