Many definitions and theories speak to the importance of communication in business. When managing a business team there are multiple factors that determine its success. What is the overall company strategy? Are you able to foresee obstacles and successfully maneuver around them? Managing is an undeniable juggling act. How well you manage all the "cogs in the spoke" is most greatly determined by your level of communication skills.
The ability to communicate is both an art and a skill. It takes wisdom and experience to know when to, and not to, push and issue; and it takes business know-how to analyze work performance to determine if goals are being met.
Mangers must assert themselves on the importance of communciation as they are the ones to set the work-place communicating environment. To promote appropriate communication within your team create an "open-door," collaborative environment. The goal is to encourage inter-personal support and building. Good managers know that a strong team trusts, relies and collaborates with each other. Open communication is created only after it is first initialized and executed by the manager.
To begin with, everyone deserves a safe and healthy work environment. Follow company policy procedures and forego non work related talk to avoid uncomfortable situations. Employees must feel able to approach you with their ideas, complaints and questions. If this line of communication gets closed or damaged, the only recourse is to fix the problem and re-establish the open-door policy.
Building confidence in employees and establishing a community of encouraged initiative fosters a sense of value and appreciation in the entire team. With this sense of value, expect to deal with complaints and suggestions. All managers deal with the occasional complaint and employee problem; remember the procedures outlined per the company and the matter will conclude professionally.
Honoring the open-door policy by listening to employee concerns and questions is a healthy way to run an office. However, encouraging open communication is hardly "enough" when it comes to healthy communication.
Managers have a full closet of hats and over half, and in some instances most, are dedicated to employee communication. It is your job to know the heart-beat of the office. Take initiative and find out how the office is running. Observe, listen and ask are the three skills that best determine the work environment.
Recognizing the importance of communication is recognizing the planning steps it takes. One must understand what needs to be communicated and strategically implemented. Here is a list of basic items that need to be communicated:
· Office Procedure
· Project Information
· Acceptable Organization
· Individual and Team Goals
· Performance Evaluation
The idea is to arrange all the team ideas and business goals into manageable and impartable sections. Bites are much easier to swallow than the whole steak.
As you plan a communication strategy, categorize each bit of information. For example; talking to an employee about their work performance is considered "sensitive." Thus, discuss all sensitive items discretely and in person.
Not all matters must be discussed in person. In fact, doing so would greatly hamper your, and your team's work performance. Email, phone or hand written notes are also acceptable forms of office communication.
Need to make a change to a scheduled office meeting? Shoot out a quick email. Need quick information from an employee who just stepped out for a break? Leave a voice message. If trained to do so, voice messages are checked quite frequently, and usually more often than email.
Managers have multiple items to communicate everyday and must use all the tools at their disposal. Other methods include formal written letters and faxes. With all the different communication styles and different points of reference we are all equipped with it's a wonder anyone gets anything done! But that is the beauty of a master communicator. Stay consistent in approach and message and your team will quickly learn what is expected and how to deliver.