James Humes, a speechwriter for five U.S. Presidents, once described the art of communication as “the language of leadership.” In the workplace, use language to build an environment of transparency that makes every team member feel informed about the business and understand how company decisions will affect their role. Transparent communication builds trust, and studies have found that employees who trust their employers are happier, more engaged at work, and more open to collaborating with others.
As a leader, you can build a more transparent workplace by avoiding these common communication mistakes that damage workplace trust.
1. Leaving Employees in the Dark
From the executive level down, leaders who barely communicate are least likely to earn the trust of their teams. Infrequent business updates can directly impact productivity by destroying motivation. A study by Harvard Business Review backs this up, with 70% of employees surveyed saying they’re most engaged at work when they receive timely communication from senior leadership about company strategy. Of course, some company business is confidential and intended for a limited audience, but leaders should share all the information they can.
2. Obsolete or Secret Organizational Charts
Team members feel more secure in their job when they understand their role and where it fits in with the rest of the company. Management should create organizational charts and keep them updated to reflect hiring and promotions. Organizational charts need to reflect how teams work together and include (where appropriate) cross-functional teams that work together on a regular basis towards common goals. To foster transparency, sharing organization charts and job information internally using business management software.
3. Routine Scheduling of All-Hands Meetings
Company-wide meetings and events help establish company culture. Make your company’s culture one that includes transparency and trust by holding regular all-hands meetings to discuss company news. Schedule time to answer questions and give everyone the opportunity to participate, even those who are working remotely. Publish meeting minutes after for those who couldn’t attend. Releasing the same information to everyone at the same time helps dispel rumors, uncertainty, and doubt among the workforce.
4. Inefficient Messaging
Using more effort and resources than necessary leads to inefficient communication. Instead of bombarding everyone with more information than they need, use a thoughtful communication strategy that sends the right amount of information to those who need it. For maximum efficiency, each piece of communication should have a message goal and a target audience. Avoid unnecessary jargon and vague language and get to the point as directly as possible.
5. Being Too Informal or Too Erudite
Employees judge management by their communication content and style. Aim for a tone that’s informed and professional. Casual language that’s appropriate for a one-on-one conversation could be misconstrued, so avoid it. At the same time, stay away from complicated words that may give the impression that you’re showing off your vocabulary. Straightforward, simple language that informs your audience will gain the most trust.
Too much communication can be annoying when it takes the form of micromanagement. Constant checking sends the message that you don’t trust your team members to get the job done. Once you have explained a task and stated your expectations, step back and let them decide how to get the job done. Be prepared to answer questions and provide support when needed but allow them to make most work decisions on their own. Employees who feel trusted are much more apt to trust back in return.
7. Not Taking Responsibility
Management should communicate about failures as well as successes. Share the results of completed projects and initiatives, even if the results are unexpected or unwanted. Celebrate the success and give credit where it’s due, but don’t be afraid to own up to and learn from mistakes. Being able to take responsibility earns respect and provides a strong example of transparency.
If you want to learn how you can properly communicate with your hybrid, remote, or office teams, contact coAmplifi today to learn about our beta version of our workforce management software.