Effective communication can have a significant impact on the well-being and success of your team, and by extension, your entire organization. But with two-thirds of managers reporting that they feel uncomfortable communicating with their employees, it’s clear that creating an environment where everyone feels heard, respected, and appreciated is easier said than done. So how can you foster positive communication that motivates, builds connections, and brings out the best in your team?
Communication is a two-way street. It’s not just how you say it, it’s how you hear it that matters the most. Lack of confidence and feelings of resentment on a team are symptoms of people not being heard, and this is where being a good listener can make or break the conversation. Active listening within the workplace is a method in which you gain an understanding of the needs, wants, and sentiments of your team through direct interaction. In other words, listening to more than words.
So, what can you do to ensure your employees don’t feel like background noise? Expert Alison Doyle suggests the following:
We’ve all had to learn how to speak and to write but few have actually been taught how to listen. Active listening is an effective communication strategy that can help you instill confidence by ensuring that you’re hearing everything your team has to say.
Bill Gates famously said that “we all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” So how do you provide feedback that helps your team improve, without hurting their feelings in the process? Constructive feedback differs from direct feedback in that you honestly and objectively present a person’s strengths and weaknesses as their coach (not their critic). Through positive advice and guidance, you can make work a rewarding experience for everyone.
Although every interaction is different, Dale Carnegie suggests focusing on these four main ingredients:
Feedback, both good and bad, is critical for success because everyone wants to improve. And by being honest and objective, you’ll create a positive feedback loop that amplifies constructive communication, setting your team up for success.
Is your team misreading your messaging to the point that it feels like you’re not even speaking the same language? It turns out that effective communication is not only about what you say, but how you say it. Paralanguage encompasses all of the non-verbal things you say, including tone, pitch, hesitation, and body language. And these elements combined can have a greater impact on your message than what you’re actually saying.
Expert Patti Wood suggests that connecting with people non-verbally helps get everyone on the same page with a good first impression. Here’s how:
Paying attention to the little things gets your paralanguage and normal language in sync, which means people will finally get what you’re trying to say.
Sometimes actions speak louder than words, especially when it comes to communicating your emotions. So how do you build a positive, caring work environment that shows your employees that they’re genuinely appreciated? You can build this type of positivity into your office culture by finding your team’s unique love language. Love languages are how people express and receive appreciation.
Expert Dr. Gary Chapman outlines the 5 different types of love languages and how you can apply them to your office setting:
Encouraging positivity through acts of kindness and appreciation can go a long way towards building happy, healthy productive teams. Take action now and show your team some love!
To communicate effectively you’ll need to reach beyond the words. From body language to paralanguage to love language, creating a workplace environment where everyone feels heard, respected, and appreciated brings out the best in everyone. As Dr. Gary Chapman says, “Each of us wants to know that what we are doing matters.” Reach out to your team and get your conversations in sync today.