At the root of many disagreements and arguments is a simple point of miscommunication or non-communication.
Think about it. Have you ever had a project delayed because, somewhere along the line, a deadline, update, or issue was not conveyed or discussed?
Have you ever seen a couple argue because one person thought the other knew something that had never been communicated to them?
In a company, lack of communication or miscommunication can impact the bottom line in the form of delays or service issues, and in a worst-case scenario workplace accidents or lawsuits.
The bottom line is that communication affects the bottom line.
And this goes both ways. Good communication impacts the bottom line for the better. Lack of communication or miscommunication impacts it negatively.
How can you improve communication in the workplace?
1. Communication Model: Everything rises and falls on leadership.
As the leader, you must set the example. Do you communicate regularly and clearly with your team, or do you assume they all know what to do and that they should just be doing it? Do you take time to address their questions so they can progress on initiatives?
This is not about being a micro-manager or, conversely, the “ostrich leader” who buries their head in the sand. This is more about guidance and mentorship. It includes everything from clearly conveying and discussing mission, vision, and goals to being clear on plans, processes, and job roles.
Are you setting the example for great communication in your workplace?
2. Communication Method: Communicate in their style, not yours.
Communication is a two-way street. What you convey may not always be what is received.
Good leaders make it a mission to get to know their people and to learn their particular style of communication. This works for everyone, and teachers are especially adept at this concept. They look for ways to reach each student on a level of their interest. If they know a student likes to play a certain sport, for instance, they may use a sport analogy in a lesson. Inevitably, the student will show visible physical signs of increased interest – they will sit up straight and engage with eye contact. When the connection is made between their interest and the lesson, there will be a “light bulb moment.”
Adults have this same need for relevance. When communicating with your employees, make it interesting and relevant. Use examples they can relate to and communicate in their style.
- If you are communicating with a D-style person, use action words and speak in clear, concise “bullet points.” Don’t speak in terms of the past or future, but in terms of what can be done “now.”
- If you are communicating with an I-style person, keep it fun and interesting. Use stories to make a point. Keep it light and avoid assigning them to projects that are long and laborious.
- If you are communicating with an S-style person, be cordial and conversational. They naturally want to help, so tap into ways they can be of help to others. Avoid being pushy or overly aggressive.
- If you are communicating with a C-style person, do the opposite. Don’t make it too personal. Let them know what needs to be done and a timeline and allow them to think it through before responding or coming up with a plan. Once they have a plan, C’s can act swiftly, as they are task oriented. But give them time to think first. Remind them, though, to share their thoughts at intervals so the rest of the team can keep pace as well.
3. Communication Means: What is best for them?
Each person has preferred ways of learning and communicating. Make it a habit to notice what works best for each person on your team.
Do they prefer hands-on learning or written instructions? Do they prefer email, phone, chat, or text for communications?
If you have ever sent a dozen emails to someone with no response, but they answer every time you call, they are telling you how they prefer communication.
This three-strategy approach to communications has the power to create success in the workplace and in any relationship.
- Are you modeling good communication?
- Are you engaging the right method of communication for each individual?
- Are you using each person’s preferred means of communication?
These simple strategies not only make your team members feel valued and respected; they also build the platform for individual and company success.
For some great resources on how you can better communicate with your team, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.