Are You in Tune With Your Team?

I can read people pretty well, but I’m no mind reader. I’m not Spock with the “Vulcan Mind Meld.” Chances are, you don’t have Vulcan ears and can’t read minds either. 


So, we need solid communication skills to be successful. Telepathy just doesn’t do the trick. And luck won’t either. You must be deliberate in how you communicate in business. 


That’s why I’ve spent considerable time contemplating effective messaging with staff to ensure we all understand our business purpose, duties, responsibilities, and value as individuals. 


Without a strong communication plan, you simply hope that your staff understands everything. And that’s never good enough in business. Don’t leave any aspect of management to luck. 


Here are some thoughts on effective communication with your staff: 


  • Start With Core Values: Your company should have a list of its core values to serve as a guidepost for every action. It’s the moral basis for all decision-making. Staff members may come and go, so it’s necessary to schedule periodic reviews to emphasize these values, ensuring each person understands how your company acts with integrity in all actions. Encourage respect in all forms of communication. This means being respectful in how you communicate and fostering an environment where disrespectful behavior is not tolerated.


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  • Never Forget the Big Picture: What’s the point? Why are we here? What value does this business provide to society? When communicating with staff, it’s easy to get completely lost in the day-to-day details and forget the need to repeat the big picture: why we matter — and why each employee is essential in that larger framework. Always remember this and constantly communicate the company’s and each employee’s value.


  • Establish Clear Objectives: Start every interaction with a specific purpose. Define what you hope to achieve, and ensure everyone understands the end goal. This helps keep discussions focused and productive.


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  • Encourage Open Feedback: Create an environment where staff members feel comfortable providing feedback. Open feedback helps identify improvement areas and encourages a culture of trust. If no one ever pushes back on your ideas with follow-up questions or identifies potential problems, that’s not good. You want employees to feel bold enough to see issues and express their ideas. Your company is handcuffed without that. Praise those who identify the real issues in your plans. Thank them in front of the staff.


  • Adapt to Different Communication Styles: Personalities vary, and the more you understand each employee, the better you’ll be as a manager. Some people need a blunt statement of truth. They may fall into a funk and can’t be snapped out with nuance or finesse. They may need directives without sugar coating, and then you follow up with praise after overcoming their obstacle. Others need the sugar coating up front. They’re lacking confidence and need a boost to find their boldness. Recognize that solid communication in management requires adapting to what’s needed at the moment.  


  • Use the ‘Paraphrasing’ Technique: After a discussion, paraphrase what the other person said to ensure you understand their point correctly. This not only clarifies communication but also shows that you are actively listening and valuing their input. You may also ask a staff member to summarize the main points of your discussion to see if they fully understand what was communicated.


  • Be Mindful of Non-Verbal Cues: Pay attention to body language, both your own and others. Engage fully in conversations by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and asking clarifying questions. This demonstrates respect and encourages open communication. Non-verbal cues like facial expressions and posture can convey a lot of information and sometimes contradict verbal messages. A significant mismatch between what’s said and what’s expressed non-verbally leads to stress for the listener, who will spend mental energy trying to decipher the actual message. Make sure to avoid such mismatches, and if you sense something wrong with a staff member, inquire later in a one-on-one setting if everything is OK and if there’s anything you can do to help.


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  • Follow Up in Writing: After meetings or important discussions, send a follow-up email summarizing the key points and action items. This ensures everyone is on the same page and essential details are not forgotten. Written communication also helps you understand what was communicated over time. It’s easy to lose track of what was said and when if you don’t put it in black and white.


Make sure all communications with staff are clear, respectful, thoughtful, and two-way. If you prioritize communications, you won’t rely on luck or the Vulcan Mind Meld to get things done. 


If you’d like to chat about best communication practices, virtual employees, or anything related to business management, I’d love to meet with you. Click here to set up a time that works for you. 




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