Effective communication with my employees is an essential aspect of ensuring they understand the expectations of their duties – day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month. It plays a pivotal role in the overall operation of my business, and allows me to identify any opportunities or obstacles that may present themselves. However, it can be challenging to ensure everyone is on the same page, as communication tends to break down from time to time – no matter how well-organized you are – and that can lead to some problems.
Nadia Goodman recently wrote an article for Entrepreneur.com on employee communication, with some advice from Christine Lotze, “a partner at Philosophy IB, a Florham Park, N.J.-based management-consulting firm that specializes in changing workplace behavior”. The article takes a look at four communication techniques that managers can use in order to ensure that expectations are clear for both employee and employer, and that confusion and miscommunication are avoided. Here’s a look at one of the tips, as well as Miss Lotze’s take on it:
2. Explain who, what and how. To communicate clear expectations in a constantly changing startup environment, make sure that employees always know what you are trying to achieve, how you plan to get there, and who will do what to reach that outcome. “Most failures can be linked to a gap in clarity about one of these three components,” Lotze says.
By clarifying expected outcomes, roles, and processes, you give your team all the tools they need to bring your vision to life. “If you don’t explain how your vision is linked to what your employees need to do, you’ll get a lot of great ideas with no execution,” Lotze says.
This may go overlooked a lot of the time simply because managers might not explain the expectations for these three factors of a project – the who, what and how – effectively enough. Like a corporate game of telephone, a breakdown occurs somewhere in the process of laying out what the goals are, how they’re going to be met and who’s doing what. As any manager – or, heck, anyone who’s tried to instruct and direct a group of any size – knows, even the slightest miscommunication can lead to a major problem down the road.
This article, and Miss Lotze, offer a simple solution that I can apply if I’m worried about a message getting misunderstood somewhere in the process of a project: I need to make sure my employees have a clear understanding of these three aspects. Before anything gets started, all of them should be firmly established, and everyone involved should know them inside-out – both in terms of their own expectations, as well as the big picture.
If you’re looking for some insight on how to ensure communication with your employees is effective, and that expectations for every project, no matter how big or small, are understood, Miss Goodman’s writing and Miss Lotze’s advice make for a good read.
What do you think? Do you use any of these tactics when communicating with your employees? Do you have any of your own that have worked in the past? Your thoughts and stories are always welcome, so tell us what you think!