Communication is the transmission of a message from one person to another. Effective communication involves transmitting that message in a manner which is clear, articulate and effective. The ultimate outcome will leave the person who is communicating the message and the person who is receiving the message in clear alignment.
Being able to communicate in an effective manner is a vital tool in every person’s arsenal. Whether you manage people at work or report to a manager yourself, you will need effective communication skills to succeed. This ability to share your ideas and effect change is probably the most important qualification a manager can have in order to keep the workers under his supervision satisfied and motivated.
Effective Communication in Difficult Situations
If you are in the position of managing people, then at some point in your career you will need to have a conversation with an employee that will be difficult and uncomfortable. In such situations, a manager with excellent communication skills will be able to handle the delicate situation with a tactful, yet firm hand that is demanded.
For example, a good way to begin an uncomfortable conversation is by telling the employee that you have some constructive criticism related to his performance. Do your best to make him feel comfortable and broach the subject gently. A haranguing approach will make the employee defensive, and quickly lead to resentment.
If the criticism is about the employees’ personal qualities , be sure to inform him that discussing these sensitive subjects makes you as uncomfortable as it does him. After that, get directly to the point. Keep the feedback simple and concise and the tone positive. For instance, you might say “I wanted to discuss this with you because I would like to help you deal with this issue. I want you to see you succeed in the company.” A manager with effective communication skills will tell the employee how modifying his or her actions will produce both personal and professional benefits.
In the above example, the manager has given the employee a positive impression of the need to change his behavior and has informed him that these changes will have a beneficial outcome. The manager can conclude the meeting by encouraging the employee to set a timetable for modification of his behavior, that way the employee feels motivated to change. Although the situation is uncomfortable, the manager has given clear direction, encouragement to change and a timeline for completion.
Effective Communication and Boosting Employee Morale
Effective communication skills are also at the root of boosting employee performance. You don’t necessarily have to study communication skills and styles for a long period of to master the art of motivating employees. Something as simple as using the employee’s name when you talk to him can do wonders for his sense of self worth and increases his feeling of importance in the overall scheme of affairs at the company. The sound of a person’s name is the sweetest sound to any human being. Use names, and use them often.
You can also use effective communication to enhance an employee’s sense of value within the company. For instance, getting an employee to do what you want to do can be easier if you tie his action to some improvement or benefit for the company. For example, saying “You need to get those reports done and submitted by 10 am every morning. It’s your job, and it’s what you are paid to do,” is absolutely the wrong approach. A motivational alternative might be “Having the reports at my desk by 10 every morning will help me set targets for the rest of the week, and help us achieve our company’s goals more quickly.” This approach will give the employee the feeling that what he is doing is not merely an unimportant job, but is a vital aspect of the overall function of the organization. It is a simple shift in tone and approach, but it can work wonders to enhance an employee’s psyche.
There are other ways to use effective communication to enhance employee performance. Besides linking employee performance to value to the company, you can also link performance to development of his skills and advancement opportunities.
A manager can also tie an employee’s performance to their impact on other employees in the company, however use this approach with extra tack and care. For instance, talk about how the employee’s performance can enhance another employee’s performance and how their failure to perform his duty adequately can negatively impact another employees’ performance.
Effective communication is simply not possible without equal focus on listening. Communication is a two way street and there can’t be effective communication if one person insists on talking while the other is forced to listen. When you are approached by a colleague or an employee with a problem, take the time to listen to them clearly before responding. If you don’t have time at that particular moment to hear him out, schedule another more convenient timing when you can discuss his problem. The worst thing you can do is to rush through the conversation and only partially listen to what he has to say. Not only does this result in a lack of awareness about the employee’s problem, but the employee ends up feeling that there is no point coming to you with issues.
While there are a number of aspects that go into developing effective communication skills like verbal cues, non-verbal gestures, and hand and body movements. It is equally important to listen patiently and speak with tact, gentleness and clarity of thought. Effective communication is a combination of all these factors that ultimately result in a smooth interpersonal working relationship.