How Successful Leaders Communicate with Employees
Some managers and owners act as distant authority figures while others are Happy Hour buddies. Consider for a moment — how do you talk to your employees?
The best communication approach depends on context and demands consistency. A responsible and successful leader should not be opaque, vague, broad or cliched with employees — both in person and through all the communication channels.
These tenets are even more urgent during the upheaval of COVID-19. How can you build trust and engagement through top-down messaging during this new normal?
Five Strategies for Creating a Culture of Communication
Effective communication is a critical leadership component.
“Even in today’s distributed, collaborative workplaces, we still look to our team leaders not just for what they bring to the collective effort but for how they convey it: confidence, encouragement, expertise and decisiveness,” says Slack.com.
Use these strategies to create a workplace culture of open and collaborative communication:
- Be sensitive to employee well-being. “Good communication needs to be coherent and consistent but also willing to evolve with the times,” says Karen Meyers Holzer, President of The Deciding Factor digital marketing agency. Take crises like the pandemic into account when approaching open dialogues with employees. Adapt your information and approach to account for the listener’s mental, emotional and physical health. Show empathy and let them know you can weather this storm together.
- Keep the line of communication open. Email your entire staff once a week to keep them updated on the state of the company. Let workers know that your door is open if they ever want to talk. Communication is a two-way street! It’s also beneficial to lead “morning huddles.” Guide the prioritization of work and determine who could use an extra set of hands or eyes.
- Trust and transparency. Treat your employees with honesty. Where does the company stand, where is it going and what’s not working? According to Meyers Holzer, “Transparency builds loyalty and encourages employee buy-in.” An effective way to do this is to hold Town Hall meetings monthly, quarterly or biannually. Take this opportunity to reiterate company core values and ethics. Invite questions, suggestions, feedback and constructive criticism.
- Create a positive narrative. It’s easy to be frustrated and fixate on negative feelings — especially during these difficult times. Focus and celebrate all the positive wins. Motivate your team by emphasizing an optimistic narrative. You’ll strengthen community bonds and restore confidence in the company’s goals and accomplishments by establishing a clear vision for the future.
- Live out your values. You expect integrity from your employees — it’s only fair they expect the same from you! According to a survey by Robert Half Management Resources, 75% of workers and almost half of C-suite executives cite integrity as the most important attribute for business leaders to possess. Authentic leaders communicate their values through action. “Does your company claim family as a core value?” asks Meyers Holzer. “Then be flexible with employee schedules for the sake of their home life. Is respect one of your core values? What about diversity? Practice what you preach in your hiring practices, attitude and office atmosphere.”
For More Information About Our Marketing Firm
The Deciding Factor can partner with you to brainstorm scenarios, detail action plans and develop internal communications utilizing print and digital marketing tools. We help you share company values and develop a plan for your team to follow during a crisis and beyond.
Contact us to learn how we can help you communicate key messages to your workforce.