As a manager, what do you say to get the most out of your team? Should you take a hard-case, my way or the highway approach, or should you choose a more interactive, collaborative route? The truth is, the management style that will work best for you may shift based on the team and the context of the vision in play.
That said, there are some tried and true internal communications strategies that will work with your team no matter what leadership style operates best in your business.
Be direct and specific
Contrary to what you may see on the sitcoms, you don’t have to yell to get things done. In fact, an unnecessarily elevated tone is more of a distraction than a motivation. People will focus more on your actions than your message. They may respond, but something important will be lost in translation.
In light of that, one of the best managerial communication tips you can employ is to be both direct and specific. Make it clear what you want and what you mean, but choose your words in a way that specificity, not volume, communicates the seriousness of your message.
Know how to delegate
Transferring tasks and responsibility is not about “asking for help” or making demands. It should be approached as an invitation to connect and contribute. Instead of dragging a team member into your office or, worse, cornering them at their desk, and shouting out your expectations, take the person or team members aside and invite them to take on part of the vision necessary for team success.
This approach is not only more respectful to your team, but it’s also a great way to communicate trust in your people. When they are invited, that feels like trust. When things are demanded, they feel like tools.
Invite open discourse
One of the factors that can be most damaging to team morale and productivity is not knowing when and how to bring up concerns or questions. If your team is whispering behind your back, it’s likely that they do not feel safe communicating honestly. This will never end well. It puts a false wall of separation between you as the leader and them as the potential vision supporters.
When this wall is built, communication suffers, and with it, understanding. As your team feels more alienated, trust begins to fail, and, eventually, communication stops altogether. By the time that happens, though, it’s likely been toxic for a while.
To avoid this, make sure your office is a no judgement zone—that your team members always feel comfortable offering suggestions and voicing concerns. You may not always agree, and you certainly won’t always implement their suggestions, but they need to know you take them—and their concerns—seriously.
Be intentionally constructive
People need to feel valued. They need meaningful work and genuine appreciation, not false accolades. When offering praise for a job well done, be as specific as possible. Let them know exactly what they did well and how that success benefitted the bigger picture. That makes the message personal while also tying that team member to a greater vision.
Finally, in all areas of communication, be clear, thoughtful, and careful. You may have a position of power, but your words will not carry authority unless your team sees them as valuable. This isn’t something that just happens. That respect has to be earned.