The best managers communicate often and they communicate well. Communication is an essential part of any business and one that has a huge impact on employee performance, customer satisfaction and revenue. And when it comes to being a manager, there might not be anything more important than the way you communicate with your team.
So how do the best managers communicate? Here are three tips:
They Use Effective Technology
I think it’s fair to say that most forward-thinking companies no longer rely on email as a primary form of communication. Email is simply no longer the best app for internal communications and information sharing, given the proliferation of real-time communication and collaboration apps.
This is even more obvious for global corporations who have teams spread across disparate offices, as well as for those working from home and the growing segment of teams that are always on the move — usually in front of customers. Email suffers from various issues, including a lack of urgency which is detrimental to teams who are in front of customers and need answers fast. Even more, there is no way to highlight content criticality and easily work with a group of people. I recall one of my fave Irish playwrights, George Bernard Shaw quoted saying:
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
When you have no way of knowing who is online and whether they are opening and reading your communication, all you can do is you wait and wait, become frustrated, and turn somewhere else to find answers. The result is lower productivity and well, you know the rest of that story. Disengaged employees ultimately impact customer satisfaction and revenue.
They Remove Communication Barriers
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO believes that most companies communicate in a really inefficient way. In this blog post, he insists that anyone in his company should be able to communicate with anyone else in order to fast-track answers and move the ball along. Going through a more formal “chain of command” slows things down and makes no sense. It is definitely liberating being able to immediately contact any individual or group to get answers fast.
At Zinc, we believe that communication overload exists and additionally, most organizations don’t standardize how to communicate. In a recent survey conducted by Zogby Analytics across 402 responses from field service teams, 41 percent cited that there is no standard for use of mobile communication applications within their organization. Additionally, 71 percent of organizations still use email to get critical information out to broadly dispersed field teams and one third still use bulletin boards to get information out, which is not only archaic but can also be quite dangerous if the information is critical and important for employee safety.
They Ensure Communication is Relevant
Streamlining how a corporation communicates generally involves trimming down the number of recipients. We believe the formation of groups involving designated team members based on their role or function is the smartest approach. For example, if you are in the western region, you may need to be part of the new sales opportunities group for that region so you know which customers you will be serving in the coming weeks. This can be determined by department, project, job role or even specific product area that needs to be supported by a cross-functional team. Essentially, it’s up to each company to decide how to divide up formal groups so employees are only sent messages on a need to know basis. Ultimately, it’s all about relevancy.
Thinking about Elon Musk’s shared wisdom, what it often boils down to managers empowering their teams. Those who freely let team members communicate amongst each other, rather than putting themselves in the middle of the process, are better managers. Giving the reins to others so they can self-serve will not only yield higher productivity levels but also will translate to happier, more involved employees which translates to less churn, lower costs and increased customer satisfaction.
Empowerment is a mindset and can become a company culture. However, it does need the right technology platform to make it all happen. We believe the answer is Zinc.