Magic Words + 4 Other Ways Leaders Can Improve Team Communication
I often help managers move from the role of a supervisor to a leader. During these coaching discussions, one of the first things managers realize is that they talk more than they need to - this is especially true if they believe their main job is to provide guidance and direction. Managers often don't realize when they are dominating conversations and making employees' viewpoints not heard.
Here are some tips to ensure communication isn't a one-way street:
Give up the spotlight: Listen more than you speak.
Speak last: When someone raises a question in a meeting, invite others to contribute before you. Don't give your opinion until several others have offered theirs. This way, everyone will feel included and know their input is valued.
Schedule one-on-one time: One-on-ones should be for professional development, not status updates. Ask employees about their challenges, wants, needs, and concerns. Let them talk without interrupting.
Use these magic words: Encourage others to expand upon their thoughts by saying/asking, "Tell me more about…" or "And what else?"
Body language: Pay attention to others' body language to ensure you haven't lost or upset them. Look for closed-off body language such as crossed arms, leaning away from you, and feet pointed towards the door. This tip is just as important in video meetings as it is during in-person meetings.