Posted by Sandy Yu on 5.23.2019
Employee communication is a complicated process. Even some of the best and brightest business leaders haven’t mastered the skills of effectively connecting with employees.
They may know how to close a big business deal or network with like-minded leaders, but mastering that same type of communication expertise with employees is often a struggle. It takes a unique set of skills and traits to reach team members in a way that makes them feel seen, heard, and their opinion is valued.
Here’s what our three experts say you need to do to master the art of employee communication:
The most important skills leaders need are the ability to listen and empathize with an employee. Seeing situations from another's perspective is incredibly important when it comes to effective employee communication.
Any old boss can just ignore what someone says, but it takes a really inspiring leader to listen to what an employee is telling them, take that feedback on board when applicable, and implement it.
To do this, make yourself open and available for employees to communicate with you. Try to present an aura of friendliness, warmth and cooperation -- and above all else, get to know the personality of your employees. Understanding employees will help you develop a useful working relationship that will aid communication and connection.
Leaders must acknowledge there’s one major difference between communicating with other business leaders and employees -- different perspectives. Because perspectives vary, it is essential to duplicate the employee's reality and find a communication strategy that embraces transparency, respect, empowerment, and accountability.
When communicating with business leaders, it is often found that there are more shared realities in the day-to-day challenges, so communication tends to be more direct with less filters.
Leaders need to be creative in today's environment because they must adapt to different personalities and communicate based on how to get the best results for an employee. There are data-driven employees who need short and simple data-driven communication.
Then, there are employees that need relationship-based communication filled with empathy, creativity, and empowerment. True leaders know how to adapt and empower great solutions from their team by establishing respect, shared goals, and utilizing transparency as a vehicle for accountability and empowerment.
Many business leaders are unsuccessful when it comes to effective employee communication because they wait until there is a need or reason to talk to an employee. If a leader waits until there is a need, then it is already too late and the employee turns a deaf ear to the leader.
Leaders have to engage and connect with employees on a daily basis. Walk around and speak to them. Find out what they’re working on and what matters most to them. Welcome suggestions and opinions, then implement those great ideas. Once an employee knows their leaders are listening, they’ll be all ears when leadership has to communicate with them.
Then, continue listening and taking appropriate action. Employees need to know they can discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly with their leader with no fear of repercussion. And leaders must have the courage to face the truth and be vulnerable to admit they make mistakes and don't know everything, which is why they hire employees who are great at what they do.