I’ll start with a statistic. A recent survey by Salesforce found that a massive 86% of employees cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for work place failures. If you own, run or manage an SME, that statistic should alarm you.
Why? Because in smaller firms, we work closely with our teams. We might make a round of brews in a morning, we might do a bit of admin, or maybe chat with Sue in the staff room about what she’s doing that weekend.
Being this involved means you’re interacting with your team on every level – and you’re getting it right, right?
Wrong. I reckon there are three common beliefs that are crippling how business leaders communicate with their teams. And if you’re not careful, your employees could add another few percent to the stats I mentioned above.
Here’s what they are:
- We think there isn’t enough time to communicate well
Working in a busy small business, we’re often time poor. We make this into a barrier because we think that good conversations take time. But they don’t always have to.
Quality, on the go conversations can be just as effective. Ask Susan to wheel over to your desk for ten minutes to feed back how great her input has been on the project you’re just about to sign-off. It takes TEN minutes out of your day, but it will absolutely make hers.
2. We think it’s the other person’s fault
It’s harder to communicate well if you don’t always get much back from your team, I get that. But believing that good communication means everyone involved has to have the same good habits will only give you a reason not to bother. It becomes “their fault”.
But stick at it. Okay, you might not get great interaction from Paul in accounts the first, second or even third time you deliver some feedback to him. But what if he’s learned that from the top? By sticking with it and not giving up, you’ll help the people you’re communicating with to become better communicators themselves.
3. We think we’re already good communicators
Our own stubbornness is often the overriding reason why we don’t get communication right. I’ve come across many naturally skilled communicators in the businesses we work with, but I’ve come across a few more who believe they’ve got it right when quite the opposite is true upon asking their staff.
Thinking that you listen well, share information clearly and ask great questions when actually – you don’t – is a massive barrier. Change starts from the top, and if you’re not open to it, then you’re setting yourself up for a fall that’ll probably bring your team down with you.
If you’d like to talk about becoming a better communicator or any chat through any aspect of this post, feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org