The importance of communication and feedback
Management skills are an essential asset for any company to have. These skills would usually be best described as qualities that a manager should have in order to fulfill the role that he/she has been hired for. Management skills are a lifelong learning process, Dr Seus was right when he said “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” The higher up in the career ladder you go the more skills you will need in order to achieve both company goals and personal goals.
One of the most important management skills in surprisingly overlooked, communication. In a survey conducted by Harris Poll a third (37%) business leaders reported feeling uncomfortable when they needed to give direct feedback/criticism about staff performance. They feared that the feedback would be taken negatively.
Harris Poll broke down the identified problem areas where managers struggled with communication. Some of the issues included:
- Revealing vulnerability (sharing mistakes)20%
- Acknowledging achievements (praising employees) 20%
- Communicating company philosophy 20%
- Giving well-defined directions 19%
- Acknowledging great ideas 16%
- Face to face communication 16%
Even at a senior professional level it can be difficult to provide feedback and communicate directly. There is an inbuild element of fear that we could hurt people’s feeling or create unnecessary drama. This can lead to an underlying tension that does more harm than good to an office environment.
Tense conversations with too much left unsaid can lead to a boiling point. Once that boiling point is reached the chance of a constructive dialogue goes out the window and temper reign supreme.
No, really, really listen. Active listening can be difficult but avoid multitasking. Remember communication is a team sport not a solo one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get clarity from the other person before communicating or giving feedback.
- Don’t presume to assume
It can be so easy to jump to a quick assumption based. This can be based on miss information or partially information of an employee. Rather than assuming the worst aim for the best outcome. Chose the right place and time to approach the employee, they might be facing roadblocks such as an overload of projects. Guidance on prioritizing and time management could be the best way to help an employee to get on the right path.
- Consistency is key
Managing follow ups and expectations is a key part of management. When setting up project goals and timelines the best approach is to be consistent throughout the project. Without micromanaging, check in with the employees and give constructive feedback at regular intervals. There is nothing worse than coming to the end of a project and realising that due to early miscommunication the outcome was not at all the desired one.
- Get to know your staff
This might seem a little obvious on a surface level but dig a little deeper and this advise could be very useful. Getting to know an employee can expose strengths you previously didn’t know. It can also illuminate weakness that might have other wise gone undetected. Every employee is unique in who they get their work done and how they prefer to communicate. Some staff will thrive on one to one sessions and some staff prefer to communication in a team atmosphere.
- Set the right environment
Ask yourself, do my employees have the tools they need in order to do the job? Do they have the tools in place to communicate and be communicated with? Making sure that the staff have an environment that fosters open communication starts with the tools. This could be a set of guidelines about workplace communication or the company philosophy. Another effective tool in communication and feedback is the channels in which the managers and employees communicate.
1Time has a Team View with allows granular feedback on projects and their timelines. The project tasks solution allows project tasks to be defined at the beginning of a project to avoid any miscommunications. The project outcomes can be monitored by both the project and the task. This allows for positive feedback when an employee surpasses expectations. 1Time is free for the first month and fully scalable after that. The best way to evaluate is to try the 30day free trial follow the link to see for yourself. https://1timetracking.com/pricing/