Optimizing communications in the workplace is important for a number of reasons. Not only does it help to foster a positive environment, but it also assists with problem solving. When employees feel comfortable opening up to their bosses, mistakes are less likely to be covered up and serious issues can be tackled by effort on both sides. Here are six ways to strengthen relationships and optimize office communication.
1. Create a Connection.
When it comes to communicating in the office, being the boss automatically sets one strike up against you. Employees can find it difficult to automatically trust the person in charge of their very job status, leading them to instinctually withhold information out of fear of what you may do with it. The key to earning an employee’s trust and breaking down the barrier is to create a strong connection. This is formed by offering your undivided attention and genuine interest in what the employee has to tell you. Listen intently when he or she speaks and without judgment; with time you and your employee will be able to easily engage in optimal communications in the workplace.
2. Warm up.
If you were to go on a date, you wouldn’t expect him or her to answer heavy hitting questions upon your first meeting, would you? No, of course not. You would likely start off with small talk, asking general questions to get the discussion rolling and let the conversational topics deepen organically. This is the same approach you need to take when initially opening the lines of dialogue with an employee. He or she may not feel comfortable answering serious questions right out of the gate. Instead, increase communications in the workplace by leading off with easy questions that can be answered without much thought. As the employee becomes more comfortable speaking with you, the willingness to respond to heavier questions will increase. At this point you can tackle issues that need to be dealt with in an open and productive manner.
3. Don’t Answer Yourself.
If you do ask a hard hitting question and your employee goes radio silent, you may experience the uncomfortable sound of crickets. Stay strong and refrain from answering your own question yourself, just to ease the awkwardness of the situation. Even if you know the answer, chances are you are asking the question to find out whether the employee knows or to garner insight as to why a certain choice was made. By answering on your own, you allow the person in the hot spot to get off the hook without benefiting from any growth that may have occurred had they been forced to answer.
4. Pay Attention to Stories.
Foster communications in the workplace by tuning into the stories being told around you. This is a fantastic way to encourage conversation, leading to increased comfort in speaking with one another and expanding on various topics. Listen to the way a person tells a story and be mindful of clues that may give understanding as to the mindset or approaches regularly taken. It can also provide the necessary opportunity to coach the employee or offer direction.
5. Take Note of Emotional Cues.
Do not listen to the words alone when your employees speak; communications in the workplace can be deepened when you take into account emotional cues that accompany a story. Be empathetic towards times when information triggers a significant emotional response, which can assist you in knowing when to ask questions to acquire better insight. This can help you uncover deeper problems or other issues that may be left unspoken. It can also lead you to uncover personal problems that may be hindering your employee’s performance in the workplace.
6. Avoid Assumptions.
While it is easy to assume that you know best, being the boss does not necessarily make it so. By treating an employee in a generalized manner, you are suggesting that he or she is not an individual with unique needs. When you go straight to an assumption, the offended employee will find little use in listening and will likely get very little out of the conversation. In addition, being guided by assumptions often leads others to view you as being impatient or lacking the necessary empathy to fully understand the situation. Opening a solid line of communication isn’t something that can be done in one fell swoop. It takes time and effort to create such a relationship. Follow these tips to optimize communications in the workplace and everyone will be better for it. Learn more about how to lead your company to its next level by checking out the resources at Mighty Recruiter.