Are you playing communication roulette?

By Laura Kemp

I’m sure there are times when you have felt like it doesn’t matter what you say as no-one is listening to you, but someone is always listening. The real question is ‘does what you say get interpreted in the way you want it to?’

You may have become a team leader because you are the best person at that role but that doesn’t mean that you automatically know the best way to communicate with your team to ensure they understand what is expected of them and to get the best out of them. People are complicated and what works best for one person might not work at all for another.

It is really important to make sure you think about how what you say can impact on those around you. Negative comments, whether intentional or not, tend to breed more negativity and are rarely productive. On the other hand, a positive comment or suggestion might spark enthusiasm and creativity and give people much needed confidence and appreciation. Do not underestimate the powerful combination of words and tone.

Don’t leave communication to chance…

It is likely that members of your team may have different communication preferences. Some will prefer written guidance and requests, others may prefer to a phone call or face-to face chat or demonstration. There is no right or wrong method of communication – only one that works best for the individual.

Without taking time to understand your teams’ communication preferences you really are playing communication roulette and just hoping that you both happen to land on the same colour! But, with a little pre-planning, it doesn’t have to be a gamble.

Take time to get to know your team, ask them! You could even get them to complete a communication styles or personality questionnaire to determine the best way to get your messages across.

If you want to know more about team communication and how to incorporate this into your workplace to improve performance you may wish to look at undertaking a recognised qualification such as the ILM Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. A qualification such as this can give you a real understanding of how to navigate the complexities of leadership and management and help you get the most out of your team.

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