Ensure Effective Communication With Each Of Your Team Members With These 11 Tips
It’s essential for every business leader to provide clarity around the company’s vision and mission to inspire high performance in their teams. And with communication channels and methods constantly evolving, those who are sensitive to employees’ unique preferences and needs will find it easier to motivate them.
Just as every student has their own, distinct learning style, so does each employee. How one team member communicates may not align perfectly with their manager’s or peers’ preferences. However, if company leaders make efforts to be more inclusive and accommodate individuals’ particular needs when it comes to relaying important information, their organizations will run more smoothly and see more success.
To give leaders some ideas for ensuring strong, effective communication among employees and managers at all levels, 11 members of Forbes Communications Council shared expert tips for communicating with team members in the ways they feel most comfortable.
1. Confirm That They’re Prepared To Engage In A Certain Format
Especially in this work-from-home, remote-first world we live in, it is critical to make sure people are ready and prepared to engage in the format of communication initiated. “Can we have a quick phone call?” is a courteous Slack message that gives the person a moment to gather their thoughts. This allows them to collect themselves and feel prepared to have a productive call or even just a quick chat. – Austin Helton, Tally and Mass, LLC
2. Conduct Recurring Team Briefings That Serve As Open Forums
Conducting recurring team briefings provides a channel for delivering clear messages and encouraging open communication. It’s a great form of two-way communication that’s not just about informing your team members, but also an open forum for listening and responding to questions and concerns. Team briefings help employees develop a shared sense of mission, vision and collective aims. – Nicki Stone, Envigo ++++
3. Ensure The Employee-Manager Relationship Is A Two-Way Street
Ensuring that the employee-manager relationship is a two-way street is key. I ask team members how they like to work. For example, some people prefer scheduled one-on-one meetings; some only like to meet if they have questions. The other piece of this is that communication needs do evolve, so check in frequently to make sure that these methods are working for each party involved. – Virginia Parmley, Virsec Systems
4. Use Personality Assessments To Create A Communications Style Guide
Understanding is the pathway to clear communication. Try implementing a communications style guide based on the results of a DISC personality assessment or something similar. When you stop thinking of it as a personality test and use it primarily to understand how individuals prefer to communicate, it becomes a tool to help employees and managers anticipate and “lean in” to their co-workers’ communication styles. – Kenneth Harris, Consultwebs
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5. Ask People How They Want And Expect To Be Communicated With
The best thing to do is ask. Ask your manager how and when they want to receive communications, and share with your team how you like and expect to be communicated with. Is it via Slack, email, video or phone call, or text? As communications leaders, we need to lead the way by providing as much information as possible, or at least a timeline of when more will be provided. Encourage questions. Lack of information kills the culture. – Lori Stafford-Thomas, Checkr
6. Test, Validate And Optimize Daily Internal Communications
Ask, test and validate! As we seek to improve response and engagement rates and build communities with external audiences, we can’t forget our internal communities. In some cases, we have to dictate how communication is handled with those we manage. However, when less formal, more day-to-day communication happens, it is great to find the ways that are most effective and work to optimize them. – Corey Morris, Voltage
7. Define New Employees’ Communication Preferences At Onboarding
Communication style preferences should always be a component of every new employee’s onboarding process. It’s as simple as leaders and managers asking new employees about their preferences regarding which communication formats they best consume and respond to—email, phone, in-person, text and so on—and then sharing their own preferences. Everyone learns and retains information differently. It’s important to define those differences from the start. – Renee Higgs, Adaptiva
8. Enable Environments Where Multiple Communication Methods Can Co-Exist
Leaders should enable an environment where multiple processes can co-exist, rather than imposing one companywide tool. Within my organization, we’ve empowered leaders to determine their own team cadence, communication tools and styles, and feedback methods. The only requirement is that feedback should be a continuous process. All leaders are also responsible for informal check-ins. – Raghunath Koduvayur, IQM Quantum Computers
9. Give Managers The Time Needed To Effectively Manage And Communicate
Everyone focuses on the tools or technology required for communication, but for it to be truly effective, a more mundane aspect is needed: time. Leaders need to recognize that managing people takes time and that expecting their managers to do this effectively along with a surge of other tasks is unsustainable. Give managers the time, and they’ll take care of the rest. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
10. Make Small, Inclusive Accommodations For Those Who Need Them
One of my employees has a speech impediment and finds he’s less anxious when he can send me status updates and reports via email or Slack rather than a phone call. So I allow that. Making small accommodations for those who need them can go a long way toward building morale and creating a more inclusive workplace culture. – Amine Rahal, Regal Assets
11. Offer Multiple Options And Let Employees Choose Their Preferred Approach
There is no one single way to accommodate every team member’s communication style. So the best approach is to offer multiple communication options and allow the employees to select their preferred approach. Various methods, including anonymous surveys, open office policies, skip-level meetings, Q&A sessions and messaging applications such Slack, all provide different ways to enable two-way communication. – Tom Treanor, Treasure Data