Chet Harding’s 5 Tips to Improve Workplace Communication
Productivity heavily relies on effective communication, yet, many managers fail to ensure communication is as smooth as possible in their workplace. Recent studies prove that companies that understand how to have effective workplace communication are 50% more likely to have low turnover levels when compared to industry averages.
Entrepreneur and branding & leadership consultant Chet Harding provides his five best tips to improve communication in your workplace.
1. Explain Your Reasoning
Whenever you’re asking your employee to perform a task, you should also explain the reason behind this task. Since it is easy to assume that your employees are on the same page as you, many see this step as an unnecessary time waster, however, this is not the case according to Chet Harding. When explaining your reasoning you must ensure that not only are you specifying how their work is useful for the company, but you should also leave room for questions. Chet Harding adds that an increase in employee satisfaction is usually the very welcomed result of explaining how their work is useful. Additionally, you should explain your reasoning without sounding condescending.
2. Don’t Make Assumptions
Unspoken assumptions are often the most common inhibitors of workplace communication and can lead to mistrust – and in extreme cases, create a fear of opening up.
For example, it can be easy to get frustrated with an employee whose performance has been lagging, and many managers will instantly assume the lag is the result of purposefully slacking. However, this is not always the case. Take the time to dig into the issue in a non-confrontational way to get a view at the bigger picture. Chet Harding claims that by communicating like this, you will create open lines of communication and limit the number of assumptions.
3. Give Thoughtful and Constructive Feedback
As a manager, you may struggle with having difficult decisions that involve negative feedback. Chet Harding states that taking the time to come up with thoughtful and constructive feedback is the key to promoting positive communication in your workplace.
Address constructive feedback with sensitivity, avoid aggressive and tone-deaf comments towards others – this will destroy trust and reduce the quality of workplace communication. Instead, open up feedback sessions by focusing not on a person’s character, but on specific behaviors you want to discuss. This way, the person in question won’t feel personally attacked. You should also give the person space to share their thoughts during any feedback session.
4. Implement Transparent Workflows
Whenever your team is working on a big project, your workflows should be kept transparent so that everyone is on the same page at all times. For instance, the deadline should be clear to everyone, and all members of your team should understand who is responsible for what within the project. Chet Harding recommends that your business investigates innovative cloud-based technology in order to have transparent access to all work.
5. Use Communication Tools Appropriately
Modern communication tools can save time and facilitate communication. However, they can also hinder communication when used in the wrong way.
For instance, don’t attempt to explain a complicated issue by chat if it would be better explained in person. Similarly, you should switch from email to chat if the email back-and-forth is getting confusing.
The Bottom Line
According to Chet Harding, transparency and honesty, and a willingness to listen are critical when improving workplace communication. Improved communication requires dedication and a common understanding amongst your colleagues, it is not an overnight process and will require reflection. Make sure that you consistently evaluate communication strategies, and make adjustments based on areas that can be improved.