Reflecting on my 40 years of leadership roles and developing them in others has been a real privilege. I have worked in corporates and with small and medium-sized company owners and Directors over the past 20 years, I have come to understand the profound influence communication has on employee performance and workplace efficiency.
In this article, we will explore seven reasons why your communication style plays a crucial role in driving employee productivity.
1. Clarity Breeds Productivity
Clear communication fosters a shared understanding between employers and employees. When instructions, goals, and expectations are conveyed explicitly, it eliminates ambiguity and enables efficient task performance. By providing clear directions, using concise language, and avoiding jargon, you facilitate a more focused and productive workforce. But if you want to take it up a level, involve your people in the future direction of the business, and get them involved in shaping the future, they will want to be part of it.
Further, it’s easier if they understand more of the ‘why’ than just the what and the how and this breaks down resistance and it also helps build trust and rapport.
2. Building Trust and Rapport
Employees who feel valued and respected are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work. By showing genuine interest in your team members’ opinions and ideas, encouraging two-way communication, and practising active listening, you create a comfortable and collaborative work environment.
This brings me to a point about having time. It is easy for leaders and managers to get tied up on the operational and strategic elements of their role and less on communication elements relying on others to do this for them.
Here is my take on it: it’s people that make profits and in his book on “Future Leadership”, Jacob Morgan suggests that ‘Future leaders will spend less time on data analysis and strategic decisions because the data to make those decisions will be more freely available.’
This will leave directors more time to get close to their people and get closer to the customers at the same time. Morgan suggests that the added impact value of the company owners and directors will be through the impact they have on their workforce and how well they build relationships and rapport with team members will determine how well you retain talent.
3. Empowerment and Ownership
I hear a lot of business owners saying they want to bring in the best talent to their industry to build the future of the company. The challenge here is they bring in this talent they put them in job roles that do not reflect that talent.
Another issue holding on to projects and work that develops the future decision-makers in your business. When team members feel heard and trusted, they are motivated to contribute proactively and provide innovative solutions. This sense of individual responsibility boosts their performance and creates a culture of continuous improvement.
4. Effective Feedback and Coaching
Providing timely and constructive feedback is vital for effective communication. By establishing an open feedback loop, you address areas for improvement and recognise achievements.
A positive and developmental approach to feedback ensures team members feel valued and have opportunities to grow professionally and personally. This ongoing coaching style strengthens employee skills and enhances performance. The industry is fast learning the power of coaching in the role of developing skills. Sending people on a training course creates knowledge, and coaching develops application and consistency which is why companies are now investing heavily in professional coaches at every level of the organisation.
5. Conflict Resolution and Mediation
When conflict happens, it will need to be addressed, otherwise it can have a huge impact on the performance of the whole team.
A client of mine recently phoned me about a conflict that was impacting his team and work atmosphere. He asked what he needed to do, and I suggested that he should get them both to sit down and have an open and honest discussion about the agreed values of the team and ask them both how they were representing those values at the moment. They both agreed that they needed to let go of their current positions and use the values adopted in a positive way forward for both of them. Not only did this add more weight to the values but also the whole team could see the owner expressing the values in an ethical manner.
By adopting a communication style that promotes open dialogue, managers and leaders encourage conflict resolution instead of allowing disputes to linger. Effective mediation skills help maintain a harmonious work environment, minimising disruptions that hinder productivity.
6. Motivation and Engagement
A communication style that emphasises appreciation, recognition, and positive reinforcement motivates employees to perform at their best.
Acknowledging their efforts not only boosts morale but also increases engagement and fosters loyalty. Nothing has a bigger impact on a team member’s motivation than just saying thank you and further telling them specific reasons for the gratitude. If you praise good behaviour and get them to explain how they achieved the results, they might just repeat them on a more consistent basis. Celebrating milestones and achievements regularly communicates that their hard work is both valued and appreciated, resulting in improved performance.
7. Adaptability and Flexibility
Your communication style should be adaptable and flexible, considering the diverse needs and preferences of your team. Understanding and catering to individual communication preferences demonstrates your commitment to creating an inclusive work environment, leading to improved overall performance.
As the saying goes, ‘there are horses for courses’ and it is important to recognise that communication is a skill that needs to be constantly developed. Furthermore, leaders and managers are responsible for how their message are perceived by their team, and it is critical to approach this part of leadership development with grace and perseverance.
CEOs, business leaders and managers often find themselves deeply immersed in the day-to-day challenges of the organisation, both internal and external, which takes up a lot of their bandwidth. People-related problems often show up as a result of some of the above and in hindsight, reflection would be handled differently.
By focusing on clarity, trust-building, feedback, conflict resolution, motivation, adaptability, and flexibility, we can foster an environment where team members are empowered, engaged, and supported. Effective communication is the cornerstone of a successful organisation and retaining your best people and at the same time improving productivity and customer service is essential.
This guest blog is written by Jim Jordan, the CEO of The Scale Business Limited, a Business Consulting and Services, based in London, UK. He works with Executives and International organisations to increase performance and resilience in their Leadership and Strategic capability. If you are a business owner ready to scale up faster, reach out to Jim Jordan on his LinkedIn.