“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”
Are you trying to be an ace communicator at the workplace?
Congratulations! I appreciate your efforts to step up your communication game.
Being a Chief Marketing Officer, I know how big a difference good communication can make in the work environment and your camaraderie with other team members.
When I joined ProofHub, I was hesitant to communicate with team members. I would often keep my discussions too short, which didn’t help others understand my perspective.
However, it wasn’t just the lack of detail in my messages while communicating with others.
Sometimes, my body language would not sync with the tone of my voice. My hand gestures while talking were not appropriate. I was unconsciously making crucial communication mistakes, which sometimes led to people misinterpreting my messages.
I realized that nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. At times, you don’t even need to utter a word to send your message to the listener, which is the impact of nonverbal communication.
Psychology professor Albert Mehrabian says that 93% of information is derived through nonverbal communication such as body language and gestures.
When you hold a senior position like a manager, you should know that your communication skills can inspire people, motivate them, and make them achieve extraordinary things.
On the other hand, poor communication skills can adversely affect your relationship with peers. Your image can take a beating, and I bet you would not want it to happen to you in any case.
So, I have compiled a list of mistakes that managers should avoid at all costs. Whether you’re managing a remote team or an in-office team, you might be making some communication mistakes without even knowing it.
Read on to know more about it.
5 Communication Mistakes Managers Should Avoid
Another research shows that 28% of employees cite poor communication as not being able to deliver work on time.
The abovementioned statistics underline the importance of businesses maintaining seamless and transparent communication with employees. We can say that effective communication fuels successful businesses.
Companies using an efficient team collaboration tool like ProofHub have been able to bring their entire team together on a common platform for seamless communication and coordination at work.
As a manager, you might be doing your best to keep your team, in-office or remote, unified. Yet, so many employees are disappointed and dissatisfied with the way their managers communicate with them.
You might be doing your best to ensure good communication with your team, but there are chances you are making some mistakes (unconsciously) that are sabotaging your efforts.
I have put together some common mistakes that managers make while communicating with their employees. I believe you would identify loopholes in your communication practices, which will help you eliminate misunderstandings, confusion, and conflicts that hinder productivity and professional relationships.
2. Negative Body Language
Do you use correct body movements and gestures while interacting with your team members? Many managers ignore keeping positive body language, which can negatively impact others. Let us understand this with the following case.
A manager was conducting a team meeting to explain the project. Sitting in the chair with crossed arms, he looked down on his laptop most of the time, speaking bluntly, and would not even care to maintain eye contact with all participants. Unsurprisingly, most team participants lost interest in the project-related information when the meeting started.
In this case, the manager was in the meeting just for its sake, and he did not engage other participants and wrapped the meeting ASAP. So, this is one of the biggest communication blunders you should avoid.
The Solution — To maintain the correct body language, you should consider the groundwork of positive body language and gestures. Making a few changes in your body language can transform your communication skills and help you set a positive, inspiring example for your team members. Some examples of positive body language are:
- Have an open body posture. Don’t slouch.
- Stand upright. Have a firm handshake.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Maintain steady eye contact with listeners
- Have a gentle smile on your face!
- Avoid coming too close to the listener.
2. Using One-Size-Fits-All Style Of Communication
We all have different personalities and the way we understand things, and the same message can be interpreted differently by different people. Using a one-size-fits-all approach to communication does not fit well in the current workplace environment where people from varied backgrounds, cultures, knowledge, past experiences, and mindset work together.
An experienced project manager in his fifties is not likely to grasp communication in the same way an intern does.
The Solution — Managers and leaders need to use different communication styles while communicating with different age groups. For example, Gen Xers prefer a control-and-command style, Gen Y employees prefer a collaborative approach to communication, and Gen Z prefers in-person interactions.
3. Not Listening Attentively
Enjoying a commanding position, like that of a manager, can make you feel dominant and you might talk more than necessary while listening less. You might be passing on more instructions to your team than ever before and not focusing on their opinions, feedback or concerns. Watch out! You discourage and disengage your team members from speaking their minds, which is a big communication blunder.
Announcing a new company policy does no good if you haven’t discussed it with your employees.
The Solution — Whether you are managing a remote or in-office team, the golden rule for efficient communication is to be transparent and open with every team member. Managers need to put in extra efforts to encourage employees to come up with their suggestions, ideas, queries, and feedback. And it is not just about attentive listening. It is also about analyzing your employees’ feedback and being ready to act on it as and when required.
4. Using Wrong Communication Channels
As remote work takes the center stage, managers are using a range of communication channels to exchange information with widely distributed employees. However, some managers do not even know which communication channels their employees prefer to use. Also, the overuse of video conferencing tools and email leads to a waste of time when using an instant chat tool would do. Similarly, using communication channels that some of your employees do not use can also lead to lost and buried information.
The Solution — Managers should define different communication channels for conveying different types of information. They should also make sure that all team members are using the same channels, which will ensure a smooth flow of communication. For Example, using a video conferencing tool for team meetings, group chat for instant messaging, online proofing for collaborating on files and documents, and emails for official information.
5. Avoiding Difficult Conversations
As a manager, there are times when you need to have difficult conversations with some of your team members. It’s not easy to give negative feedback, face angry clients, or fire your employees. It’s a natural tendency for some managers to avoid such difficult conversations as often as possible. This defensive approach could let a small problem grow into a big one.
The Solution — Preparing yourself emotionally is the key to managing difficult conversations. Here are some useful tips, which will help you take the responsibility of having a difficult conversation without putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.
- Ask yourself, what could be the potential fallouts of avoiding difficult conversations?
- Learn to manage your emotions and how to be patient in such a situation
- Use this as an opportunity to be a more effective manager/leader
- Maintain a calm and professional tone while also remaining assertive
The Final Thought
Good communication skills from the top brass of the organization can lead to various benefits-improved workplace relationships, increased productivity, minimal conflicts, and better quality of work. Managers can be a communicator par excellence if they assess those areas where they are getting things wrong, and rectify them sooner than later.
The article highlights common communication mistakes and offers the right solutions. I hope you are going to benefit a great deal as you make efforts to polish your communication skills to make sure that your messages convey your real intentions and not the other way around.
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