Communication is key, we all know that. Even the toddler currently crawling around our office knows that. If you talk to your team, your recruiter, your boss, your client, or anyone at all, you’ll always get what you want a lot faster than holding it all in.
But as a hiring manager, how do you foster an environment in which your team openly talks to you? After all, you are their boss, and how many of us are actually honest and truthful with our bosses?
The answer is very few because the fear of retribution is always hanging over us. Which is why we then go to the bar with our colleagues after work and complain about our boss, then someone else agrees, resentment grows, discord is sown, your culture soured and before you know it, the resignations come rolling in.
It might sound dramatic and far-fetched, but we’ve watched it happen all too often. The research also shows that companies with effective internal communications are 2.5 times more likely to be high performing businesses as a result.
So we asked the hiring managers we know what they do to encourage communication in their teams, and they told us this:
Empathy equals everything
Having empathy for your team members is one of the single most important thing you can ever do. You might not agree with what your team is telling you, you might not like it, it might mess up your game plan, but you do have to find a way to understand their perspective, whether you like it or not. If your team knows that you’re not going to like what they’re about to tell you, they’re never going to want to tell you anything at all.
You’re not flawless
We all know someone who, after getting a promotion or position of leadership, turned into a complete monkey. Power corrupts and some people just can’t handle it. Don’t be one of those people. Encourage constant feedback from your team. Just because you’re leading them, doesn’t mean you’re perfect. If they know they can approach you about issues, just as much as you approach them, you’ll begin to build a relationship of trust and mutual respect.Encourage constant feedback from your team. Just because you’re leading them, doesn’t mean you’re perfect.Click To Tweet
Be in the know
Keep your team informed all the time. There’s no such thing as too much information. Communicating company strategy and changes in procedure acts as an olive branch between you and your team. Knowledge is power, and you should be careful not to harbor it all to yourself. (See above about power corrupting).
Take time out of your day to get to know your team members on a personal level. Once upon a time, the business world was completely against knowing the personal side of an employee. We had work life and personal life, and the two never crossed. But that old business world is dead, and we all spend far too much time in the office to be different people when we’re away. Getting to know who your employees really are means you’ll understand their passions and pains, as well as their psychology and personal dynamic. It also shows you care enough about them to get to know them. If they know that, they’re ten times more willing to talk to you about their issues, wants and needs on a personal and professional level.
None of this is rocket science, and we do it all every day with our friends and family. Your team members and direct reports might not be your friends or family members, but they operate in just the same way.