“I’m not good at communicating with other people,” says one expert. “That’s the number one reason why I would recommend that people get help, especially when it comes to dealing with difficult conversations explains Peter Decaprio.”
Difficult conversations are what leadership is all about. These challenging conversations can often take place between an employer and employee or even among coworkers in a professional environment. But studies show that only 30% of employees report having effective communication with their supervisors–and, according to experts, this breakdown in communication directly affects business performance. So how do you ensure your company culture encourages healthy dialogue between employees?
First, take note of these 10 ways leaders sabotage communication within their organization:
1. Not listening:
It’s important to let the person who is speaking finish their thought before responding, but it can be easy for managers to interrupt or simply not listen at all–and that’s a problem. To build trust between employees and employers, you need to show that you’re really listening. This doesn’t mean giving your undivided attention at every moment; rather, it means encouraging dialogue by asking follow-up questions or incorporating what has been said into the conversation.
2. Making assumptions:
It may seem easier to make assumptions about what other people are thinking or feeling based on how they behave, but this truthfully isn’t efficient–especially considering how many factors might affect someone’s behavior. For example, maybe an employee isn’t completing their work as quickly as you’d like because they’re striving to do a good job, not because they’re lazy or incompetent. Or maybe an employee comes across as surly because his dog died that morning, not because he’s unfriendly.
3. Being too nice:
It can be easy for managers to avoid conflict and tell employees what they want to hear instead of showing tough love when necessary, but this approach often leads to more problems in the long run says Peter Decaprio. For example, if a manager doesn’t challenge an employee’s ideas even when she knows those ideas aren’t going to help achieve a certain goal, then it will be hard for her to earn respect from that person which makes future interactions difficult.
4. Going to meetings for the sake of having meetings:
It’s important to have conversations with your employees, but it may not always be necessary to convene a meeting just for the sake of having a conversation. In fact, too many meetings–which typically involve little discussion and lots of presentation–can frustrate and distract employees. So instead of calling meetings left and right, make sure you’re using them strategically.
5. Not understanding conflict:
Rising above conflict might sound ideal in theory, but when an employee or group of employees is unwilling to deal with problems head-on, you wind up with unresolved issues that affect morale and productivity. For example, if two employees don’t like each other because they can’t resolve a conflict from the past, they may wind up transferring their negative feelings to other parts of the business–or even avoiding necessary interactions altogether.
6. Not making time for people:
Managers often get so caught up with work that they fail to make themselves available to employees–and this can lead them to feel isolated and frustrated. To cope with this isolation, employees might lash out in frustration or simply withdraw from company life. So whether you’re managing a team in an office or a squad in a warehouse, remember that your employees need face-time in addition to deadlines.
7. Putting too much pressure on individual employees:
Although it’s important to celebrate workplace victories, managers frequently assume too much credit when things go well and place too much blame on individual employees when things go wrong explains Peter Decaprio. This approach makes it harder for employees to feel satisfied with their work and recognize their own contributions, which can lead to increased turnover and reduced engagement.
8. Not rewarding good behavior:
It’s not uncommon for managers to overlook positive behaviors in favor of focusing more on areas. That need improvement–but this tactic is unproductive in the long run. Because people want to be recognized for doing a good job. So don’t assume your team knows when they’re making progress and actively look for opportunities to reward them.
9. Focusing too much on company culture:
Creating a fun environment where employees are encouraged. To take breaks at random times or share pictures of dogs on Instagram might sound nice in theory. But it’s not the most effective way to build a strong team. Instead of focusing on creating a wishy-washy culture that tries to appeal to everyone. Managers should focus on developing collaborative relationships with their employees.
10. Not involving employees:
It can be easy for managers to take certain decisions and actions for granted. But when they do, they actually place themselves and their business at risk says Peter Decaprio. So whether you’re preparing your company for an important announcement or getting ready for a quarterly meeting. Make sure you involve all of your employees in the decision-Making process. As much as possible rather than making those decisions unilaterally.
There are more mistakes managers make. But we believe that these 10 will help you avoid common pitfalls. And communicate more effectively with your employees. And as always, don’t forget to leave a comment below if you have any questions about managing people!