How a supervisor communicates with their employees is the difference between an engaged and inspired team and one that is unengaged and resentful. Effective communication is essential to workplace success. However, many supervisors are uncomfortable communicating with their employees. According to an Interact survey by Harris Poll, 69% of managers reported feeling uncomfortable communicating with employees. By using the following best practices, supervisors can improve their communication.
Grow Emotional Intelligence
A critical component of effective communication is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our emotions. By understanding our emotions, we better understand what motivates us to communicate the way we do and how emotions impact the ways employees communicate. By growing emotional intelligence, you can understand how what they are feeling influences their communication.
Growing emotional intelligence does not mean we become skilled at hiding our emotions. People who have high emotional intelligence embrace their feelings, understand those feelings, and control how they influence our behavior. To grow emotional intelligence, consider how others feel, reflecting on your emotions, having empathy, and recognizing misunderstandings.
Make Sure Your Message Matters
In this day of information overload, we are all used to instantly deleting or tuning out any communication that isn’t relevant to us at the moment. To ensure that your communication is effective, honing your message is of utmost importance. As you deliver messages, ask yourself whether they are accurate, timely, complete, relevant, and clear.
Build Trust and Be Transparent
Trust is the foundation of a successful team and business. To build trust, leaders need to be honest and transparent as much as possible. By embracing workplace transparency, you create an environment that encourages open communication between team members at every level. Building trust starts with trusting your employees. You can show that you trust your employees by giving them autonomy within their role and creating a safe environment for giving and receiving feedback.
Practice Non-Defensive Communication
Practicing non-defensive communication is closely related to emotional intelligence. When we feel threatened or criticized, it can be easy to become defensive. Ensuring that communication is non-defensive is one of the most important ways a supervisor can improve communication. To master non-defensive communication, mentally and emotionally step back from the situation. Also, depersonalizing the problem can help us as leaders see the issue objectively.
Listening is half of the communication process. We all know that hearing someone is much different than listening. Active listening helps you understand the words that are being said and understand the meaning behind them. When you listen, you can understand people’s intentions, understand ideas, and avoid jumping to conclusions. Even more, listening establishes a culture of respect. Barriers to listening often include getting hooked on specific words, preparing your answer while the other person is talking, listening for facts only, and having the belief that you have already heard what is being said before. To actively listen use the following steps: listen, question, reflect and paraphrase, and agree that you understand the other person’s intent.
Watch our recorded webinar to see a full presentation on active listening in the workplace.
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