Getting your communication and feedback right will help your staff feel motivated and engaged. It also saves time and helps to keep staff focused and motivated. Follow these tips to communicate better.
This article was written in association with New Zealand Business Performance Panel expert, Dr. Julia Richardson.
To build a healthy business, it helps to delegate. To delegate well, you need to know how to give clear direction. Be sure to give people all the information they need to do the job well. Tell workers what outcomes you expect from a project or task, then leave them to decide how they’ll go about it.
Writing down what you want can confirm what you’re looking for in your own mind. It helps you make sure you haven’t missed any important background details, including:
A clear brief also gives you and your workers something to refer back to, should any misunderstandings arise.
Use our worksheet to help you prepare for briefing staff.
Listening can be difficult and most of us could benefit from doing more of it. According to communications expert Julien Treasure, we should listen 60 per cent of the time we’re in conversation.
Often we spend most of our listening time preparing our response, instead of really hearing what the other person is saying.
When you don’t listen for meaning, you risk missing important signs, eg a worker finds your instructions confusing. Or you may misunderstand what someone has said.
Experts say the key to listening is to:
For better results get to know your team and pitch what you’re saying in a way they’ll appreciate. Consider what motivates them and, if you’re asking them to do something, point out what’s in it for them.
Avoid using jargon with people who may not know what you mean.
Ask staff to take this personality test to help work out how best to communicate with them.
Myers Briggs personality test (external link) —16 personalities
It helps build trust, and can signal if you’re getting in people’s way.
Like any skill, the more you practice giving feedback, the easier it becomes. Feedback isn’t just about making someone feel good, or pulling them up for their behaviour. For it to be effective, you need to leave people knowing how their behaviour impacted you, others or your business — good or bad — and what you would or wouldn’t like them to do next time.
Using a framework, such as the Situation, Behaviour, Impact model, can be helpful for delivering feedback:
Be respectful. Make sure that when giving negative feedback, you do so in private.
Use our worksheet to prepare to give motivating feedback.
You should always think about ways to sharpen your communication and feedback skills. Use this assessment to reflect on what your strengths are, and pinpoint how you can improve.
At the end of this assessment you’ll get: