The skills of a successful manager are many. But how does the world find them until the manager communicates? A manager’s communication skills become the bedrock of their professional success. With this idea providing ample guidance, there is a lot of talk about communication skills. But what exactly are communication skills, and why do managers need them?
Communication skills refer to the ability of a person to share their ideas and information with another person accurately. It also includes considering the role of their background, existing knowledge, and biases in interpreting the message. Effective communication is not just about sharing information but involves precisely understanding the inherent message and emotions surrounding it. It shows that communication carries a broad definition, with multiple aspects that rarely get noticed.
One such aspect of communication that often lacks significant attention is nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication uses expressions and gestures to share and emphasize messages. As much as words, our expressions add meaning to conversations. For example, a manager frowning while listening to a proposal from their team member immediately shows that they are disappointed and will likely not approve of the idea. On the other hand, another manager maintaining eye contact and nodding while listening will gain the confidence of their team member – by communicating their attention and trust to the member.
Read more about why every manager should focus on nonverbal communication.
Effective communication is one of the most critical soft skills that a manager needs to have. Hard skills can help you bring breakthroughs in demanding arenas, but only communication skills can help you lead your team from the front. A manager with strong communication skills can elaborate and explain their squad’s roadmap. By answering questions, providing feedback, and listening actively to team members, managers build a collaborative spirit based on mutual trust. On the other hand, the weak communication skills of a manager can throw teams into the menace of miscommunication.
We realize the importance of communication best when miscommunication prevails. In the absence of effective communication, be it the lack of appropriate channels or barriers, teams fail to achieve their goals. Poor communication habits manifest in misunderstandings. A manager that constantly avoids direct answers and eye contact does not listen to their team very often and interrupts them repeatedly, causing the spread of bad communication habits, which results in a poor workplace environment populated by distrust and conflict.
Such problems can occur even more frequently with remote teams, as the opportunities for informal interaction are limited. When getting immediate feedback face-to-face is not an option; conflicts can go unaddressed for longer while distrust simmers in the team. Managers of remote teams need to understand some unique challenges that can come from a lack of familiarity with the medium and barriers arising from diverse settings.
In all of these scenarios, the manager can help their teams by becoming a facilitator of effective communication. Being a facilitator is about laying down the pathway for your team members to get things done. A manager acting as a facilitator of communication ensures that the team environment is designed to make communicating easier for everyone. For instance, the manager can ensure that their entire team uses the same communication tools. They can also go further by helping some members build proficiency with those tools. On the other side, becoming a facilitator can also ensure that the team members have access to adequate and equal information, eliminating the scope for grapevines to run amok.
Read more here to learn how to become facilitate communication in your team.
A manager frequently becomes the pivot of a team’s communication, as all information is shared, and they answer questions. In addition, they can allocate team members to work together on shared projects. Hence, it is critical for good managers to be aware of any communication-related issues that could prevent their team from collaborating smoothly. For example, a manager can note if gossip is negatively impacting the team and take steps to cut it out.
In totality, a manager’s communication skills need to be top-notch to design resilient teams. Communication skills include understanding and overcoming communication barriers, identifying and creating the proper communication channels, and controlling the flow of information across the team. Moreover, it also focuses on two-way feedback that incorporates the views of team members, not just the managers.
Are your communication skills prepared to handle all of this? Test now with Risely’s free Communication skills self-assessment for managers. The free assessment minutely analyzes your communication habits to provide feedback that helps you grow.
Growth is a constant for every manager set to accomplish great goals with their teams. The new year 2023 comes with a precise focus on the soft skills of managers and leaders. As teams go global, managers must rapidly adapt to a world of hybrid work with diverse groups. Wondering what else is going to happen? Check the top leadership development trends of 2023 to stay on top of the game!