As a career coach I am often asked how a manager can pass the interview section. I’ve talked to several professionals who seem trapped in the middle management career stage. No matter what they do, they cannot break through the ceiling. This rarely has anything to do with a manager’s charisma, talent, education, or management skills. It has everything to do with their communication style.
One of the most important management skills is communication. A manager who is skilled in the six styles of communication is able to negotiate and motivate effectively. A manager who can communicate effectively can solve personnel problems the first time. They can lead a team through problems without needing to resort to threats or ‘toxic communication.’
What is Good Communication?
Everyone of us can communicate our thoughts and perceptions. Unfortunately, in many cases there can be a wide gap between what we say and what others hear. This increases the frustration by making it seem that the employees are unmotivated, aggressive, uncooperative, or outright rebellious. It doesn’t take the average person long to realize their employer doesn’t appreciate their work. This compounds the problem.
There are several tips that performance coaches use that can be utilized by managers. They are easy to learn, and can almost seem like a magic formula to a highly motivated workforce.
The art of listening takes time and practice. You can learn more by listening to how a person is communicating than you can learn by listening to their words. Learning the art of listening is never a waste of time for today’s high profile managers.
Listening involves patience and affirmation. Passive listening resolves nothing. Active listening makes the employee feel that you are concerned and interested about their problems. It also opens a window that lets managers see how to motivate an individual
2. Repeat Back
When you are listening, repeat back the important points. “I believe you want ___”. When you repeat back what the employee says you accomplish two things. First, you let them know you heard them. More important they realize that you are paying attention and they stop being emotional and think about their words. This is vital to helping the employee ‘act’ to solve the problem instead of ‘react’ to their emotional response.
3. Talk in the Employee’s Vernacular
Everyone speaks one language, but we all have different linguistic styles, idioms, and grammar styles. When a manager uses words that are important to the employee they are closing the gap between the employee and themselves. As this gap closes the relationship improves.
4. Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
Learn to talk to employees succinctly. Most people cannot handle more than 125 words. When instructions or a reprimand goes beyond 125 words the message is lost. The person stops listening. They stop trying to solve the problem and either withdraw or react defensively.
Keep instructions short and to the point. Do not give the average person more than one thing to do at a time. Do not overwhelm them with detail.
On this thought, it is also important to keep your agenda and emotions out of a conversation. Do not threaten, bribe, or become emotional. Keep a steady tone, free of emotion.