As a manager, your relationship with employees has a direct correlation to their retention. Those who build positive relationships are more likely to have employees with higher rates of morale, productivity, and engagement.
One of the primary keys to building positive relationships is through communication. Whether you’re a new manager or an experienced pro, here are 12 tips to assess and refine your communication skills.
Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills
1. Be kind. Both you and your employees are humans with emotions, needs, and personal lives. Don’t hold your position of authority over your employees; empathize with them!
2. Talk (and listen) professionally. Tactfully watch what you say and how you say it. Pay individual attention when listening to an employee and avoid being distracted. Remember, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
3. Use proper grammar. Is it more meaningful to receive a text that says, “Happy Birthday!” or “HBD”? Although texting is a time saver, take the extra seconds to type out the word and add a period here and there.
4. Keep emotions in check. Take a few seconds to breathe and regroup before opening back up in a difficult conversation. Silence is not a bad thing.
5. Choose your words wisely. There’s no auto-correct, undo, or rewind for your spoken words. Be careful about what comes out of your mouth — and ensure your written words aren’t something you’ll regret next week.
6. Avoid being vulgar and crude. Everyone knows words that may be considered offensive. Those words don’t belong at work and may dampen your level of respect. Keep it clean.
7. Notice your body language. Your body language is usually louder than your words, so keep your facial expressions, posture, and eye contact in check.
8. Be real. Don’t pretend to be a know-it-all; even Google gets things wrong occasionally. When you don’t know the answer, respond with, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to you.” Then be sure to follow up with the answer.
9. Speak clearly and directly. When in conversation, talk at a pace the other person can understand. If English isn’t their first language, don’t talk louder; talk slower. Use words they will relate to and avoid using ambiguous phrases that allow for wiggle room. For example, if a project has a deadline, don’t tell the employee to do it “as soon as possible” — give them a specific time to have it completed.
10. Remain confidential. There are plenty of things you should not share with employees, such as a worker’s health condition, why an employee needs extra time off, or the verbal beating you just took from your boss. If it’s not something that can be shared at a company meeting, think twice before saying it.
11. Be aware of timing. If your employee makes a mistake, tactfully address it immediately and in private to avoid humiliating them in front of others. When they do something great, let them know right away! Any delays in communication make the message less impactful and oftentimes cause confusion. (“What did I do to earn this?”)
12. Remember: you’re a manager. While you may be friends with employees, your relationship at work needs to reflect your management position. Resist having personal conversations or spending more time with your “favorites” than others. Everything will be noticed by other employees and could be misinterpreted.
Be the reason an employee chooses to stay. Take time to review and refine your communication skills and watch its ripple effects in both your personal and workplace relationships!
How are your communication skills?