Just about the same as other soft skills, communicating, especially for managers and executives, sounds easier and more obvious than it actually is.
Making your work fun
As a strategy to improving the mood around the office, a good manager can use a little more of his creativity to change the environment in the sense that it’s somewhat entertainment in order to reduce employees’ stress pressure and increase chances in actually communicating outside of work schedule.
Take Google’s headquarter for example; if you had the chance to see the movie Internship, or even the chance to see it upfront, Google office is generously colorful and playful. It doesn’t even look like an adult workplace, to be frank. There’s a canteen offering free food and coffee, a nap area for those in need, an exhibit of various topic, and even slides helping employee to move downstairs in an instant. Their aim is to put their employees at ease as much as possible because, as mentioned earlier, people use the most of their productivity when they are comfortable, and to minimize the negative factors in Employee morale. The reason for such is that they consist of many top-level programmers who extremely need full focus in prior to function properly, which is the root of most valuable Google apps and abilities we’re using daily.
However, enormous ideas like Google’s environment can’t be done within the effect range of a single manager. A good manager, still, can help making work fun by giving his employees one or two 15-minute breaks throughout the day; they might extraordinarily appreciate it, and while doing so, the productivity rate and performance of the office is also refreshed as of the employees.
Being the proper other part of a conversation
Communicating doesn’t mean speaking only; it’s also about listening to others. One way or another, you will end up being under lots of works and concerns if you aim for the management position, so eventually you will find yourself worrying about upcoming projects and meetings while talking to another. This means the communication remains one-way and that you have failed to maintain your skills.
It’s understandable that a manager has many issues to work on, but spending a few minutes with his employees can’t harm! True, it’s supposed to be distracting when one is under such pressure of meetings and responsibilities, yet a good manager should be able to control his flow of thoughts, or simply force his flow of thoughts to stop so as to actually listen to the other.
One effective practice is to remain fully eye contact and repeat what the other just said; for instance, “I understand that you want to raise your salary due to your extra work quantity and hours, Andy. I’ll look into it.” A simple reminder is in no harm but beneficial for both parties in communicating as it helps the two get to mutual understanding. A relevant study shows that contents that are repeated more than five times last almost infinitely in one’s mind.By confirming what the employee has to say, you force yourself to stop thinking about your current work and fully focus on what your worker needs. Doing so is a proof that you actually care about employees’ interests, resulting in the likelihood of you being adored and your relationship network expanding as one of the benefits communicating skills offer.
Is pretty much the concept of David Foster Wallace.
In the management positions, it’s best to keep every matter non-personal, if you want to keep your job. Regardless of how skilled and how well trained people can be, personal issues still take place in modern conversations. Workplace, however, is the worst-on-Earth place to get into such mess. As most encounter a personal attack, most tend to respond in a personal manner as well; managers are not supposed to be so. They are supposed to be calm in all situations to lead others properly, so again, a good practice when one encounters such matter is to stop one’s self for a moment and approach it generally. It’s also the practice of philosophy—while people’s opinions usually conflict with each other, it’s best to keep being open minded and adopt others’ views since no one is wrong. So as to speak, it’s useful not to deny what the other end of a communication has to say at first, but to reply to it from another aspect and forcing yourself out of personal revenge.
Moreover, controlling your emotion also make you a reliable conflict handler. Your employees will eventually run into conflicts as the deadlines come near, which then need a higher-level supervisor to get rid of and maintain the production flow. Make them feel like you are always opened, like you can carry their emotional baggage because as conflicts go on, personal attacks take place.
Minimizing the use of secondary communication
Since the time technology advanced, most companies and firms have preferred emails to be their main source of communication. It’s good, though, as it comes in handy and convenient during busy hours, but actual face-to-face communicating should be preferred over it. It’s a harm to work relationship. It shows the lack of confidence from both sides and addresses the manner incorrectly. As discussed previously, 90% of communication is actually body language, so by using emails for short replies and unnecessary get-off-the-chair activities, 90% of the communication is missing, forcing either side to guess the other’s expression and hidden manner in plain words. Obviously, these conversations get misunderstood often, leading to unwanted mistakes and decreased morale.
Last but not least, feedback. Employees, as well as any other human beings, need feedback for future improvement and morale determination. They need it to know that you, a manager, actually recognize and pay attention to them whether they were working hard or slacking off; a short on feedback or absence of such can leave the employee worrying and concerning of his performance.
In practice, most employers hold meetings weekly, or monthly, to give feedbacks to individual. That’s one way to go, but then again, it leaves the employees in worries for a whole period of work. While I was against email usage in the last subject, spending a few minutes to write an email greatly comforts your workers. You can also walk over their office to give a short feedback on how he’s doing, or even a straight up one right after he turns in the work.
Nonetheless, the feedback must be detailed to avoid mutual misunderstanding. A short and plain feedback is also considered no feedback—useless. Try to go over every step the worker took and examine them to him so that he gets a hold at his actual performance as of your intentional outcome production. If possible, a positive feedback is also considerable; that is, try not to be personal but general and positivity-focused to avoid the possibility that he is already in a bad mood from the conflicts.