Effective communication can mean the difference between have a workplace that you can not wait to go to each day and looking for another job. Most people have witnessed and experienced the effects of different management styles, team break downs, and miscommunications. Reflecting back upon the situations I have been a part of over the years I am able to see that they all boil down to how effective communication occurred or did not occur. In this post, I will discuss some of the impacts of effective communication.
Why Do Leaders Need to Be Effective Communicators: Effective communication is essential to ensure that goals, visions, and outcomes can be successfully achieved. By effectively communicating you are also able to help build positive and meaningful relationships with those around you. These outcomes will improve efficiency, performance, morale, and motivation for yourself and others.
Most people agree that having a leader who is effective at communicating makes a big difference in how the workplace functions. There are a lot of different reasons why leaders need to be effective communicators, some of which will be more important to certain individuals than others.
What Difference Does Effective Communication Really Make?
Communication is part of our daily lives, be it through email, phone calls, face to face conversations, comments to the driver who just cut us off in traffic, or teaching our pet a new trick. We are communicating constantly. Not all communication is verbal. Some people are hand talkers, who are far more animated and descriptive with their bodies than the strong silent type. A hand-talker may be much easier to read then the strong silent type but despite the fact that it is a chore to get more than two words out of them the signals are there.
How someone chooses to communicate in each of these situations, and the purpose behind doing so, is what distinguishes someone as a leader. Leaders are able to use specific and effective communication tools to make their team feel valued while also having objectives and deliverables met in an effective and efficient manner. Leaders know that putting in the extra work up-front makes for a smoother journey; creating efficiency and a winning mentality that is focused on results as well as people. Using effective communication stacks the deck in your favor from the start.
Improve Efficiency and Create a Productive Workplace
By communicating your position, interests, and goals effectively without filler you will be able to save time beating around the bush and save time and energy. The less time you take giving people irrelevant information, or information that does not apply to their role or responsibility the more you show respect for each person’s time and improve
If you are trying to achieve a goal, you will still need to explain why. There are a few things that trigger adults more than being given directions without understanding the end goal or the why behind the request. Not explaining why can also lead to results that don’t meet company expectations or don’t really move the needle.
Let’s take a Learning Management system as an example. Large companies often employee learning management systems to train and develop staff. Often these courses can be painful to complete. They often take valuable work time and put staff behind in daily duties or they must be completed during personal time. Forcing compliance on this usually isn’t a problem but a leader doesn’t want compliance, they want buy-in. In this situation, the buy-in is created by explaining how the courses are important to the company and how they benefit the employee and the company by increasing knowledge. A leader can effectively communicate this and rely upon internal motivation from the employee vs trying to push external motivation.
Giving a bit of extra information upfront can save time in the long run and really create that internal motivation.
Achieve Your Goals
The more effective you become at communicating your expectations and needs the more attainable your goals to become. As you begin to achieve your goals with above-average frequency, sustained duration and in a low amount of time the more efficient you will become at your job and the better you will appear to your coworkers.
Have you ever sat in a meeting about a meeting? Few things frustrate me more than spending time in a meeting of no value. Ensure that whenever you request someone’s work time it will be a value add to them. This awareness and recognition demonstrates an understanding that the individual is of value, as is their time. By using time wisely to communicate with your team and coworkers utilizing the method that is best suited to the situation you are able to most effectively communicate freeing time for yourself and them. The more you show others you appreciate their time, and want to add value to their work and yours, by only blocking their time when it is necessary, the greater your ability to protect your own time.
When you acknowledge that someone else’s time is of value, you immediately set yourself up for success. By clearly stating your goals and expectations, for that individual, you open up a dialogue that fosters a relationship of mutual respect that is beneficial to everyone, yourself included.
The less you say the more people will listen when you have something important to discuss. This is not to say that you should stop having off-topic conversations with people, this is specific to “shop talk”.
By appealing to others on a human level and conveying your position in a way it related to them, people will be far more likely to support you or enter into a dialogue about the topic. Although they may not agree with what you say or your goal they will gain an understanding as to why it is important, and although they may not be one hundred percent on board, at least support you or not stand in your way.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
If a person is part of a team’s success and receives some sort of acknowledgment for it, the more likely they are to work as a team again. Everyone feels good after a win, and if your win is shared it is typically amplified as our happiness is affected by that of others around us. If you are able to communicate to create wins for those around you, you will foster a workplace of positivity, which leads to more creativity, a higher degree of job satisfaction and thus improved morale in the workplace.
Create Meaningful Relationships
The more face to face communication we have with someone the easier it is to develop a meaningful relationship. Experts agree that meaningful relationships are the number one indicator of happiness and longevity, and at the end of the day, most people aim to live a long and happy life. If your own personal happiness and life expectancy is a side effect of communicating effectively isn’t it worth investing some time and effort?