Did you know that more than a third of workers are searching for new jobs today—which means that, for employers, that can end up costing them $2.9 million a day looking for someone to replace these employees when they quit?
If you want to save money, and have employees who are happy working at your business, then you need to know how to communicate leadership. The last thing you want is people leaving all of a sudden, or employees who aren’t as productive as they could be because they’re frustrated and angry at work.
Fortunately, by using the right strategies, you can communicate leadership in the right way. When this happens, your employees feel more included and motivated, valued, and confident.
There will also be fewer issues with people not showing up for work, conflicts in the workplace, and unexpected productivity problems. By using the right strategies, you can communicate effectively as a leader. Read on to learn more.
Be Clear and Specific
When you’re communicating important information to your employees, you need to be clear and specific. That way, they’ll know what you need from them both generally and when it comes to work deadlines.
When you’re sending out an email, for example, re-read it before sending, coming up with any questions your employees might want to ask. Reading it out loud and using a grammar checker like Grammarly will help make the language clearer, too.
In terms of company-wide expectations, having processes documented helps.
These processes can be related to training, how to communicate with clients, or usual deadlines. Giving guidelines and examples will provide your employees with clear expectations.
This can help avoid delays, frustrations, and having to call emergency meetings.
Tailor Your Communication Style to Others
It’s key to good communication to adapt your communication style to those used by your employees. Oftentimes, communication issues can simply come down to the fact that there’s been a miscommunication.
A way to avoid this? Learn how others will be more receptive.
For example, if your tone is usually positive and motivational, this might work for some of your employees, because they find it inspiring.
Other employees, however, might want you to be more direct with them, cutting straight to the chase when you’re meeting with them to talk about their work and goals.
Some employees may also value having their ideas heard before you tell them what to do with a work assignment. So, when thinking about how your employees communicate, you’ll want to think about:
- How much they want to discuss and be included
- The tone they are most receptive to
- What medium they prefer to hear from you (Slack? Email? Zoom? The Phone? In person?)
Adjusting your communication accordingly to each employee will make them more likely to reply to your messages or calls, and will allow them to feel comfortable enough to voice any issues they have with the workplace or with an assignment.
To find out what communication style they prefer, you can set up an anonymous survey asking about the bulleted points above.
Listen and Get Feedback
Knowing how to listen is one of the most important communication skills. If your employees feel that you’re always available to speak with them and that you will do so with kindness and without judgment, they will both value you as a leader and be more likely to come to you with any potential work issues before they get out of control.
To demonstrate to your employees that value listening to them, set up regular one-on-one meetings with them where you ask about:
- How they feel about their position
- What their current challenges are
- Where they feel they are doing well
- How you can help them improve
- Any ideas they might have about their position, a project, or the company
Your demeanor in these meetings should be friendly and open. The more trust you build, the more your employees feel that they can be honest with you, which is key to effective communication.
In addition to these one-on-one meetings, by sending monthly or quarterly surveys asking questions like these, you can get honest answers because of confidentiality.
This will make your employees feel they can be absolutely honest if they’re afraid to say something in person.
Speak to Groups as if They’re One Person
Another way of avoiding poor communication is by speaking to groups as if they’re one person. Whether you’re giving a presentation to a potential client, running a meeting with your employees, or speaking at a conference, it’s smart to speak to groups as if they’re one person.
This allows you to connect directly with your listeners. If you aren’t sure how to do this, watch a few TED talks to see how they make you feel like they’re directly speaking to you.
Some other strategies for speaking to groups include telling stories, since the narrative shape is powerful, using jokes, and getting personal, talking about experiences you’ve had in your own life that are emotional and connected to your business life.
Get to Know Your People Personally
Speaking of getting personal…it’s also a good idea to get to know your employees personally. When you meet with them one-on-one, you’ll want to talk more than just business.
Ask about how they’re doing, and encourage them to open up about their hobbies, interests, and family and friends.
You don’t want to overstep any boundaries, of course, but there are many ways you can connect personally with members of your team.
Encouraging them to connect with each other, too — for example, by running a team-wide book club or having a Christmas party this year on Zoom — will make your employees feel included and like they have meaningful relationships with others on their team.
This will encourage a cooperative work environment, and one that’s more fun and connected, too. Additionally, note that, during a year that many people feel isolated, it’s more important than ever to get to know your employees personally.
They may be struggling with many issues, so if you make them feel they can open up to you, they can let you know if, for example, seasonal depression is affecting their productivity.
Transparency is incredibly important in the workplace. Especially now when so much work is being completed online because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it can feel to your employees like a lot is going on behind closed doors
To avoid your team feeling this way, have company-wide meetings where you discuss company culture, goals, and opportunities. Demonstrate to everyone how your product or service goes from start to finish, so they know exactly how your business functions.
Transparency enables leaders to really connect with their employees by making them feel included in the company at all levels. It provides meaning to the work they do, no matter how involved they are.
Communicate Leadership With Body Language
Body language is also an important thing to consider when thinking about communication style. It works on a subconscious level, but it’s just as important as your tone of voice and the content of what you’re talking about.
When speaking to your employees, make sure you’re using eye contact, smiling, and that your body is relaxed. Don’t close yourself off physically by keeping your shoulders pressed together, fisting your hands, or holding them down on your lap.
Instead, be engaging, the same way you might be at a networking event. This is especially important when communicating online with your employees since being online already creates a bit of distance and can lead to poor communication.
Use Empathy and Kindness
Finally, don’t forget the importance of empathy and kindness. If an employee is struggling with meeting a deadline, start the conversation by asking if there’s any way you can help them. If there’s a conflict going on between two employees, sit down with them and get their points of view before deciding what to do.
Often, empathy and kindness do away with miscommunication, because when we understand where someone’s coming from, we can suddenly understand where issues are coming from. Without empathy and kindness, real listening is impossible.
Need More Communication or Leadership Tips?
There are many ways that a business leader can improve their leadership and communication skills. Especially at a time when so many businesses are run digitally, and employees and partners alike are dealing with additional stressors and changes, leadership communication is more important than ever.
To learn more about how to communicate leadership effectively, go to our contact us page. We’ll be happy to answer any questions or give you more ideas on how to communicate effectively.