Sometimes the way for us to create improvements in productivity is less about how we act as individuals, and more about how we interact with others. As we rarely are working in isolation, having effective communication skills will be an important tool to ensure that we are productive. Whether you are in a supervisory or team member position, having effective communication skills will raise the productivity and optimism of those around you.
Communicating as a Team Member
When you are working mostly with coworkers and bosses, there are plenty of selfish reasons to communicate effectively. Being able to communicate effectively with your coworkers will help you get a reputation for effectiveness and honesty. There are few things more frustrating than being put into a situation where you haven’t been told enough to be effective. One way to do this is to pay careful attention to the way that the person is responding to your words. Do they seem like they are understanding? It can be helpful to try to engage them. If they are speaking, you will quickly get an idea of if you are communicating effectively. Make sure not to get frustrated at them, or create an environment where they would be fearful to ask questions.
Communicating as a Supervisor
When communicating as a supervisor, there are several factors at play that would not be at play when communicating with those who rank equally. You need to keep in mind that your employees may be worried about asking for clarification. When talking with employees, it is critical to create an environment where they are comfortable talking and asking questions. If you can do this, even if you are only a mediocre communicator, you have given your employees the tools they need to understand you. And being able to create this environment can make a huge difference in the workplace. Another thing that you can do is to create obvious notices and have written communication available. An email or notice posted allows employees to check back and refresh on things. This means that your directions will be carried out more completely and more clearly, as they are able to review them whenever they have questions. Finally, look at your employees. One of the characteristics that you should look for in all new hires is the ability to communicate. If they do not have this, then no matter their other strengths, they will be a detriment to your success.