Most of us have jobs that put us in contact with other people at least some of the time. Since that’s the case, developing strong communication skills is essential for just about any type of job you might have. Here are some things you can keep in mind to improve the communication in your own workplace, whether you’re a manager or an employee.
Whenever a group of people are assembled in the same general area, conflicts are bound to occur. They don’t even have to be serious ones; we all have different personalities and priorities, which can lead to disagreements both large and small. What you need to remember is to handle any conflicts that do arise with a graceful, diplomatic attitude.
Even small issues can lead to bigger disputes. To prevent escalation, make sure any potential issues are dealt with before too much time has passed. If you’re a manager, make sure you maintain an open-door policy; employees should feel comfortable bringing smaller issues to your attention before they get worse. Once you’ve been engaged, be sure you keep judgment out of the equation; avoid personal attacks no matter what.
Be an Active Participant in the Feedback Process
From time to time you’re going to be called upon to provide constructive criticism (feedback) to another employee. Truly feeling invested in someone else’s work might feel like a challenge – mostly because we’ve all got our own work to do – but taking the process seriously and offering honest advice is hugely important. Just as you’d want your co-workers to take your own work seriously, you should let them know that they have your full attention.
Remember: you might be the next one that has to ask for advice or feedback. Giving quality feedback when you’re asked for it goes a long way toward ensuring you’ll get great feedback when you’re the one asking for it.
Master Communications Technology
Most of us know how to send an email, but the more advanced features of workplace communication technology may require a little more dedication. Business phone systems have grown more and more capable over time, and offer more features and functionality than you might have taken advantage of so far. Your office’s phone system for business may offer great features such as transcription of voicemail or call forwarding for mobile devices. Take the time to get to know the technology you work with every day: you might be missing opportunities to improve your work experience.
Here’s a tip for managers: if you want your employers to feel valued, empowered and motivated, improve your communication skills with a healthy dose of transparency. Treat your employees like owners: communicate any issues – good or bad – to them in a timely manner. Furthermore, don’t just tell them about the decisions that affect them on a daily basis: communicate the reasons behind those decisions. Even when you have to deliver bad news, you can do it in a way that promotes workplace unity and engagement.
No matter what type of job you work, or what kind of workplace you oversee, keeping quality communication at the top of your list of priorities is hugely important for improving workplace engagement and productivity. If you start thinking of your co-workers as a sort of extended family with a shared set of goals and ambitions, you’ll be genuinely surprised at how much less stressful the office will start to feel.