Communication is the most essential skill for successful management. Being able to communicate fine details and the bigger picture is a nuanced skill that not everyone possesses. To start with, you need to want to be a manager. A lot of people fall into the role because it commands a higher pay grade. When this happens, people tend to lead from the front, asking everyone to follow them. Communication becomes a one-way street.
The best leaders can lead from the rear, guiding their team towards their vision, while still allowing them to forge their own path. The destination might be the same, but the team lead from the rear will be more satisfied with the outcome.
Communication is a key component to high-quality leadership, and it’s something we want to look at in more detail in this article. We will explore some of the ways you can improve your management communication skills to help you become a more effective leader.
Good communication comes with practice, so take every opportunity to communicate with your team, with other departments and with key stakeholders. Learning to adjust your communication strategy for different situations and settings is key to improving. It’s what allows you to discipline a person for poor performance while still maintaining a good working relationship.
Communication comes in many forms, and digital transformation has made this more fractured. You might be expected to speak on the phone, in person, by email, video chat, walkie talkie or over messenger apps like Slack. If you embrace different communication channels, you will be more accessible and will make it easier for your team to speak to you using the method they find easiest.
People appreciate brevity at work. Stop the double talk and get to the point. This is effective for delivering bad news just as much as it is for delivering the good news. Stick to the facts and be honest. Your team will appreciate this transparency and refusal to dance around the subject.
Listening is the hardest communication skill to master. If you want to have a conversation instead of subjecting your team to your monologues, you need to learn how to actively listen. It isn’t a sign of weakness to not have an answer straight away. And it can make you a much better leader if you can take a step back, digest what you have heard and get back to them with your response when you have had time to mull it over.
Being open to feedback is one of the best ways to improve your communication. Successful communication is so subjective, so what works for one person might not work for another. Your job as a manager is to determine how to get the most out of your team, and this means learning how they want to be able to approach you. Some people thrive on positive feedback while others need constructive criticism to be able to progress. When you ask your team for feedback, they will tell you what they need the most.
Management communication is about more than just day-to-day tasks. You also need to be able to communicate your big picture or your vision. When you get bogged down in the task of everyday management, your team can lose sight of the bigger picture. They need to understand how their contribution fits in with the wider company. On a project, they need to know how their small part fits in with the whole. Be aware of when you are filling in the details and when you are asking your staff to take a step back and see the bigger picture.
Communication is more difficult without empathy. Being able to take feedback, listen to your team, paint the bigger picture and keep on top of day-to-day tasks all require empathy. So when a member of your team is telling you something you disagree with, take the time to see it from their perspective. And if this is difficult to do, learn to ask questions until you can understand their position. You can’t be right all of the time, so having empathy can help to make you more open to new ideas.
Ready to take the next steps in your management career? Get in touch with Nolan engineering recruitment agency today to find out about the management roles we are currently recruiting for.