How Leaders Can Improve Their Communication in 2020

by Jan 21, 2020

Take a moment to recall your favorite boss. What was it about them that made them so great to work for? Among other qualities, this person likely recognized your contributions, established a personal relationship with you, and set clear, achievable goals for you and your team.

 

All of these attributes boil down to a single skill that every great manager has: effective communication. Communication is arguably the central pillar of an organization’s success, and a leader’s ability to communicate can directly impact the performance of their teams.

 

For many employees, a manager’s ability to communicate is the deciding factor in whether they feel engaged at work. In a study that polled employees on their bosses’ communication skills (or lack thereof), a resounding 63% said that management did not effectively recognize their achievements. Nearly as many respondents also said that their employer did not give clear directions.

 

If you are a leader in your organization, it’s well worth your time and effort to improve your communication skills by practicing the following strategies in the new year:

 

Take Your Communication Online

 

In the year 2020, so much of what we do at work is through the world-wide-web, and communication is in no way immune to the internet craze. The modern business views internet-based technologies as the ideal method for connecting with their team members and sharing information. This is because, unlike older communication tools, internet-based platforms provide greater accessibility, are compatible with multiple types of devices and allow for conversations to occur in real-time.

 

A few specific tools to get you started uploading your communication to the internet include:

 

  • Cloud unified communications: Unified communications tools take the best of your business phones, video conferencing, team chatting and more and combine them under a single cloud-based platform.
  • Internal social networks: Although social media is typically seen as a form of external engagement, private social media networks for your team are an effective tool for connecting disparate departments and reinforcing a dynamic work culture.
  • Intranet work forums: If you’ve ever felt that your business needed a designated place for employees to share their innovations or ask work-related questions, an intranet system might be the answer for you.
  • Employee satisfaction software: One of the most valuable assets in the leadership toolbox, employee engagement or satisfaction software helps management teams facilitate conversations around happiness, wellbeing, motivation and performance in the office.

 

Embrace the Smartphone

 

Once seen as more of a distraction than a source of productivity, smartphones are powerful devices that can revitalize your approach to communicating with your employees. Part of this shift can be attributed to the increasing demand for a mobile workforce, with business travel, work-from-home benefits and on-site services becoming more common. It also has to do with communication efficiency—sending a text is easier and faster than emailing when time is of the essence.

 

The most significant reason, however, to adopt smartphone usage into your organization is that your employees are likely already using their personal phones to help them at work. 60% of employees use apps during work-related tasks, and 71% dedicate at least two hours per week accessing company information on their mobile devices. And regardless of how you need your smartphone to communicate with others, there’s likely already an application to help you get there (from inclusivity apps to chat platforms).

 

Speak (And Listen) with EQ

 

So often business leaders master the technical proficiencies of their job but don’t consider the soft skills needed to connect with the people they supervise. That’s why many organizations now recognize the value of emotional intelligence when hiring and training their leadership teams. EQ measures a person’s ability to empathize with and understand the emotions of others. It’s easy to see why leaders with higher EQs are better suited for inspiring their teams and bringing people together.

 

If connecting emotionally with your fellow employees is something that challenges you, you might be wondering exactly how you can better incorporate emotional intelligence into workplace conversations.

 

The first and most important step is effective listening. You should refrain from interruptions or off-hand remarks to demonstrate to the other person that you value their thoughts and are open to opinions outside of your own. Emotionally intelligent listening also requires reflective communication, or adjusting your body language, tone and choice of words to suit each individual employee.

 

By engaging with your team members on a case-by-case basis, you’ll be able to fortify your personal relationships, understand what motivates or inhibits their work and discover how you can better tailor your leadership strategies to better serve the needs of the people that define your company.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

Do you have formal buddy system in place for your new hires?

New hire buddy systems fail when expectations of buddies are not clear, and agendas aren’t provided, so people don’t really know what to do.

As someone who specializes in coaching abrasive and aggressive leaders, I’ve noticed some patterns. Topics that continue to come up in my coaching sessions time and again. Get this. There are things your organization could be doing that actually facilitate bullying. I...

Resolving Conflict: A Case Study

One of our clients had two employees who were struggling to get along. Both employees were key contributors, and the business owner was desperate for them to resolve their differences. It all started when one employee (I’ll call her Susan) was quick to email out...

Four Steps to Dealing with Difficult People

Difficult people are everywhere. It’s likely you have encountered someone at work who struggles to connect with others in a positive way, whether because they are a downer, a one-upper, a gossip, or other reason. While difficult people come in many forms, they all...

Latest book, SEEKING CIVILITY, is released!

I have just released my latest book, SEEKING CIVILITY: How leaders, managers and HR can create a workplace free of bullying and abusive conduct. I thought I'd throw up a few excerpts for interest: What Bullying Is Bullying is repeated abuse that creates a...

What Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Really Mean

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential to creating a positive work environment where employees are happy and thriving. We work with organizations to assess and address any issues related to DEI, and we provide training and resources to help create a...

5 Action Items for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Building a healthy workplace where employees feel appreciated and respected requires, among other things, making it diverse and inclusive. It is essential for organizations that want to attract and retain top talent, foster innovation, and stay competitive in today's...

Toxic Work Culture: Three Behaviors That Contribute

Way before working at Civility Partners, I suffered from a toxic work culture. Even though I loved my job, it was very tiring—emotionally, mentally, and physically. The work environment was very unhealthy, and because of that, I made the best decision of my life by...

15 Tiny Habits To Kick Off Your New Year

If you’re anything like me, you kick off your New Year with all the lofty resolutions you can think of. In theory, it’s a great way to be intentional about your future. My problem in checking off those resolutions (and maybe yours, too) is twofold. First, I set...