Communication is important. There is no getting around it. It is the one essential pillar in an effective organization. Without communication, the world and all the organizations in it would stand still. Communication skills are arguably, the most important set of skills you can have as a manager. But why is it so important. ‘Drop this spiel about why it’s important’, and tell me I hear you say. So let’s give you a quick overview as to why communication is so essential.
In the past we've discussed the top characteristics of a good manager, and the traits of a bad manager. But what are some of the key communication skills that every manager needs? Here we list our top 8 skills that every manager needs.
A key skill in team-building and developing good, effective interpersonal relationships. The ability to build rapport with people is essential and will help to create a positive and safe working environment. Regular, supportive communication is needed to develop a positive working rapport with people.
How are your active listening skills? Do you interrupt people? Are you waiting for your turn to listen? Are you really listening to others? Your team needs to know that you are listening to them, that you recognize their points of view and that you will put some points into action. Active listening means giving an individual or team your full attention, noting and responding to verbal and non-verbal cues.
Providing clarity through your communication is an essential skill that is likely to lead to goal success from everyone in your team. Be efficient with your language. Get the message across and don’t waste time being floral, which is bound to make people confused.
As I’m sure you know, communication isn’t a one-way street. You need to listen to others and put yourself in their shoes. Understand their perspective, what are their arguments, why may they have this position? Different people have different opinions, different communication styles and they may prefer informal or formal styles.
Being able to talk to a range of people is imperative in any professional life. People are different. Different ages, different likes, different backgrounds, different levels of seniority. Being able to communicate effectively with all these people is a key skill.
Whether you like it or not, conflict is an inevitable element of life. Conflict at work is just the same. How you deal with such conflict is in your control. Using certain communication styles is an effective method for dealing with conflict. One of the greatest skills to deal with conflict resolution is communication. However, conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing and as such de-escalation isn’t always the best option. Conflict can give rise to different viewpoints, changes in direction and creativity. Managing conflict to your benefit is a key skill that few possess. Communication is a key element in this.
We are currently in the era of hot-desking, gig workers, remote working and open offices, it’s not good enough just to have an ‘open door’ policy. You need to convey the message that as your employees’ manager, you are always available. In-person, over the phone or digitally. Being available for your employees when and where they need you, is an important communication dimension for a manager.
Assertiveness is a key communication skill. Assertiveness means expressing yourself clearly and effectively. It doesn’t mean steamrolling other people’s points of view or controlling the conversation. Being a leader means being assertive in an effective manner.
Communication is the cornerstone of organizational effectiveness. It is arguably the most important skill to have. Do you, as a manager, evoke these communication skills? Or is it time to improve on them?
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