How to be a good communicator

 How often do you come across the word “transparency” these days?

Chances are you hear it in the words of your corporate spokespeople, your CEO says it in his speeches, and your management team uses it in meetings and reports.

It’s important that you stand behind your support of “transparency” by maintaining an open, communicative environment among your employees. When you start hearing about a lack of transparency, you can be sure that a drop in productivity is in the offing.

It’s good to talk…

You can communicate in the following ways to maintain a high level of transparency:

  • Publicise company goals: Keep your team up to date on what your company’s short and long term goals are. Let them feel involved.
  • Keep that office door open: Your team should be encouraged to know they can openly express their concerns, observations and suggestions to you.
  • Be honest: No one likes to work in an atmosphere where there are lots of closed-door meetings. That’s how rumours and distrust start. Keep your team informed of any company issues that could affect them because they will find out – not in the manner of your choosing – through the rumour mill anyway.

...But choose your words carefully 

Remember, how you communicate with your staff will have a big impact on how motivated they are. While it’s advantageous to be as transparent in your communication as possible, finding the right mix of straight talk, criticism, and praise will boost your team’s productivity – and your reputation as a capable manager. Sometimes, the method is the message. When you speak with your staff, try to:

  • Be liberal with praise: Most people respond to praise by (believe it or not) working harder. Whereas people who work hard but feel under-appreciated are likely to cut back on their efforts.
  • Criticise in private: Never criticise an employee in front of the team. Also, try to focus on the performance, not the person.
  • Say ‘no’ tactfully: If you have to decline an employee’s request whether it is for a pay rise or a day off, make sure that the way you refuse includes an explanation for your decision. Never make the employee feel embarrassed for asking.

The key to true transparency in the workplace is two-way communication that is honest, open and respectful. Get these three things right and you’re well on your way to being an inspirational team leader.

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