Interaction today comes in two ways: human-to- human and human-to-information. As a natural extension of the Information Age, the Interaction Age has come with messaging capabilities and real-time conferencing supplementing office productivity. Yet with all of this technology at our fingertips, it is easy to lose sight of what makes essential and productive communication between team leaders and employees. Of particular concern is the kind of communication that focuses on the upward communication that leads to productivity and high performance.
Everyone Has the Skills
At great companies team leaders actively listen to employees. They also actively encourage employees to talk to each other, customers and to their leaders. The good news is that most people already have the skills to communicate to their team leaders; they simply need to apply them to their manager. This is the power of human-to-human dialogue that constitutes interaction. With it employees are able to see the vision for the company and come closer to a sense of ownership in the company initiatives. In addition, this new interaction breeds an environment where everyone is on the same page and teamwork, organizational flexibility and eventually corporate agility is fostered.
Getting the Process Down Ensures End Results
For employees to communicate effectively, they need to have a broader understanding of their manager’s style and the environment. For example, one manager may need communications provided in an “executive summary” format as an overview, while another requires more of the detail behind the summary. In any case, employees need to feel empowered with this understanding to alert their managers when issues, concerns, problems, as well as opportunities arise. Employees who are engaged in the kind of interaction that uses both an understanding of style and a process for communicating effectively create a powerful framework that produces results and an extremely positive working environment.
Take Jack for instance. Before receiving training on a process for communicating with his manager, he was stymied by what seemed to be impossible weekly meetings with his boss Denise. It seemed to Jack that they were always butting heads because of Denise’s constant needling of him for more details. Jack felt like Denise didn’t trust him.
After training, he learned that everyone has a communication style and that his boss’s style was different from his own. Jack deduced that their weekly interaction was not necessarily negative or a personal attack; it was just Denise’s need for more detail. Jack now has a greater understanding of what he needs to do to feed his team leader’s communication need and move the conversation forward with more focus so that they could both reach their objectives.
Today Jack says, “I actually look forward to my weekly meetings.”
Open Communication Upward is a Powerful Solution
It’s actually pretty simple; when employees are trained on how to communicate up they are more committed to the organization and naturally ask for more feedback from their team leader. Everyone takes the next step, listening to each other and responding appropriately. The environment changes, and old problems clear away to be replaced by productive interactivity and passionate employee involvement.
Communicating Up is a program by Vital Learning that can teach your managers, team leaders and employees to be engaged in positive interaction. Your training representative can show you how to implement this program that will help your people:
- Enter meetings with well-thought out and clearly stated objectives.
- Clearly link objectives that support plans and goals.
- Move conversations toward questions that focus on understanding gained when your objective is reached.