As a manager, it’s your job to lead your staff. And a good part of that involves communication. But seemingly small mistakes in how you communicate can actually derail your team in a big way. Here’s a look at 9 missteps – and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not listening.
Being in charge means you’re regularly handing out assignments and giving orders. But are you also taking the time to listen to your employees? If you’re failing to connect, then it can impact how motivated and empowered your team members feel. However, when you listen, not only will you gain valuable insight and information, but it will strengthen the bond between you and your employees.
Mistake #2: Communicating only in writing.
When you have important news to share, sometimes face-to-face is better. Details can get lost in translation when you’re writing them. However, when you’re speaking in person, it limits misunderstandings and miscommunications. People can hear your tone of voice and read your body language, which helps make for more meaningful and impactful communication.
Mistake #3: Overpromising.
Sometimes, as a manager, you can feel pressured to agree to something when you’re put on the spot, when truthfully you’re not sure or mean “no.” But this kind of overpromising can derail your team and undermine trust. Instead, if you need to, buy yourself some time by saying: “I’ll look into it and let you know.”
Mistake #4: Not seeking out feedback.
It may seem counterintuitive to seek out negative feedback and bad news. But the more you do it, the better chance you have of dealing with problems before they escalate and blindside you. So as tempting as it may be to stick your head in the proverbial sand – and let your team deal with it – don’t do it. Regularly ask about issues and challenges, as well as areas that need improvement.
Mistake #5: Providing too much information.
When communicating, don’t overload your employees with unnecessary information. Highlight the details they need to know and encourage them to come to you with questions.
Mistake #6: Not providing enough information.
On the flip side, when it comes to a serious issue or decision, don’t just gloss over the facts or presume your team won’t understand statistics and figures. If you do, then they’re going to assume the worst. If it is a complex issue you need to present, then remember, it’s your job as a manager to explain it to them in a way they’ll understand.
Mistake #7: Poor timing.
One of the hardest challenges with communication is not simply what you say, but when you say it. If you wait too long, you can impact your credibility. However, if you announce or share something too soon, you can create anxiety that affects results. That’s why, when you’re communicating important details to your team, you should always consider the timing.
Mistake #8: Calling out an employee in front of others.
If you’re having an issue with an employee, don’t bring it up in front of others. Doing so will only serve to humiliate them, creating resentment in the process. Instead, schedule some private time to have a one-on-one conversation.
Mistake #9: Not giving enough praise and feedback.
Your people want to be recognized for their hard work. Likewise, they want to know where they stand with you. So if you don’t regularly communicate praise and feedback, your team will lose steam and start to flounder. Even if you truly appreciate them, if you don’t say it, they’ll never know it and will feel under-appreciated.
Is a skill gap or lack of manpower holding your team back?
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