If you’ve ever watched a “Peanuts” special on television, you may remember that when any interaction with parents or teachers occurred, a faceless voice uttered the gibberish, “wah wah wah wah.”
As a leader in a large corporation, there are a lot of demands on your time, and unless you make the effort to communicate with employees in a way that makes them feel seen, valued, and heard, you run the risk of becoming a “Peanuts” parent—a faceless voice issuing directives via e-mail.
Connecting with your employees goes a long way in boosting employee moral, and creating a sense of loyalty and a feeling of community within a corporation.
Here are a few ways you can step up your communication game so that your message is understood, and your employees feel heard.
Your employees know how precious your time is so don’t make them feel rushed when they need to speak with you. Be present and actively listen to their questions or concerns without checking your phone, watch, e-mail and other detractors that show that you aren’t fully engaged in the conversation.
Set The Tone
Water trickles down, so think of yourself as the faucet. How you speak to employees, your attitude, your facial expressions—these all play a part in the mood and culture you are setting for the company or department.
Are you always negative and complaining? Do you bark orders? Remember that employees look to you to see how to react and respond to situations—and to each other.
Set the good example by communicating solutions versus problems, and opportunities for growth over failures. State your requests and answer questions in a way that is both courteous and respectful. It all starts with you.
Don’t be so focused on what you are saying that you forget to listen. A good leader takes into account the ideas or concerns of the entire team, addressing and implementing them if appropriate.
Listening to your employees lets them know that they are more than just cogs in the wheel, and when they feel like they have a voice in the success of the company they become more invested in the outcome of a project or task.
Communicate Clearly and Specifically
Your employees are not mind readers. Communicate your objectives and expectations clearly and concisely. Avoiding a long-winded, vague directive not only saves time, it helps ensure that the job is done right from the start. Ambiguity leaves room for interpretation, which can result in costly mistakes.
Being as specific as possible decreases your margin for error and keeps everyone on the same page.
A good leader understands that communication is key to keeping employees productive and happy. By taking a few minutes to actively connect and understand what drives and motivates your team, you can create a culture of respect, foster idea sharing, and cultivate a team of employees who are fully invested in their jobs, which benefits the company as whole.
Cardigan is an employer branding and internal communication consultancy that helps companies get the most from their people and culture.