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November 14, 2008

Top Communication Skills For Managers – What’s The Benefit?

A manager needs to have good communication skills. It is one of the major elements of communication. One of the most vital skills in any manager or supervisor’s portfolio of skills. But why? What are the benefits of being a good communicator?

Often a manager is asked to explain or make understood a new policy which is to be implemented or a particular process that is already in use be refined. It could be that new approaches are needed to make the difference in our challenging world.

Whilst using your capabilities to find out about what’s going on around you is important, the impact of under-performance cannot be overestimated. If something isn’t working right, asking questions to get the information you need is a tactic well worth developing. But, that’s not all. A manager worth their salt will be able to extract information in ways that others would find impossible. It’s a mix of asking the right questions linked to the capacity to hear what others say as well.

Whilst special communication situations are important, it is likely to be just a small part of the manager’s role, compared with the need to interact with their people on a regular day-to-day basis.

Good managers talk to their people all the time, getting to know them well and building great rapport as they go. Understanding how important this is, helps those managers who care for success to decide just how they are going to develop this skillset to the full.

Many managers fail to understand the effects their poor communication style can have on their people. You see miscommunication commonly comes from arrogance, linked to a lack of appreciating that misunderstandings are almost always the fault of the person imparting the information.

And, how frustrating and inefficient can it be to have gotten the message wrong! A good manager will always acknowledge that they have the accountability to get a clear message across to everyone and anyone that needs to get it right.

As issues arise, managers need to consider what they are being told carefully, whilst ensuring that they get all the detail before they act. Sometimes, assumptions can get a manager into hot water, so it’s vital that they find out what really is fact, before they decide on a course of action.

This is not just about the ability to impart information, more, it’s about the capacity to listen carefully and then frame ‘discovery’ questions appropriate to the contextual clues they have received.

Being able to appreciate information for what it is, requires a special capacity within any manager. Time, ‘busyness’ and all the other demands on time, means that a manager has to be pretty smart to make quick judgments based on limited information. In those cases it’s a good idea to make sure that actions are not taken in haste, but considered carefully when the time is available to make the nest decision possible.

Teamwork, with all the interlinked dynamics associated there, requires special attention. The challenge here, is that with several members involved at a time, if you are not careful any message gets misinterpreted as it is passed around. Having the sense to clarify as a group, with questions and feedback altogether, might well be a constructive and focused way to ensure that you get it right with your people, all of them, every time.

Remember, the power of a well engineered team is impressive – the potential for downsides equally so if you get it wrong!

It’s important from the outset that you have ensured there are adequate facilities for any occasions where good communication is important to you. This can be done well in advance for major events. Even when you are holding regular weekly or monthly meetings, by ensuring that you have the appropriate resources in place will not only mean that your message gets across, but also how well your people feel that they are being treated.

By making sure that you really understand that communication skills are your first , middle and last amazing tool in your kit when you are managing a team of people, however large or small, you will enjoy major benefits. Get this right and you will have results to be totally proud of. This is your moment, so make a real go of it!

Filed under Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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Manager or Leader – What’s The Difference?

Two absolutely necessary things needed for the survival of any organization are leadership and management.

While leadership is the ‘quality’, which determines how far a company will go and how successful it will be in the long run, management is the ‘quantity’ that deals with the daily workings and the implementation of current plans that will help in the immediate health of the organization.

Maybe! Truth is, both are pretty important.

Although we might try to distinguish between them and aim to get them into a neat little descriptive package, it can be quite a challenge.

Maybe the way to separate the two is that a leader deals with the longer term aspirations and opportunities, whilst a manager will be more focused in managing the resources, including people, to achieve shorter-term goals for the ongoing health of the organization.

Then again, managers need to be leaders sometime…

Filed under Building the Future, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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