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“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.  “ George Bernard Shaw.

This remains so true today, in a world where half of you attention may still be in your email inbox. Technology can cripple your ability to get in touch, so it’s vital to make a conscious effort to be attentive to the needs of your people. In any industry, the foundation of a successful environment is high morale. As a leader, your employees depend on you to be a positive influence, as well as a role model. 75% of workers willingly leave because of uncomfortable relationships with their manager: you don’t want to be a part of that statistic. Here’s how you can foster genuine relationships through effective communication skills in the workplace:

Listening and Nonverbal Communication

The best way to ensure open and honest communication is to bolster your active listening skills. Use your undivided attention to hear what a worker says. Limit interruptions, and when in doubt, repeat what the other person says. Clarifications and interpretations can allow for a more seamless understanding between people with differing viewpoints. The more transparent you and an employee can be in a conversation, the better the outcome.

Giving Feedback the Right Way

Although you may feel you’re being direct, your employees can’t read your mind. Feedback is the most crucial way to express their performance. First, make your employee relationships a priority. Constructive criticism or praise will allow your workers to focus on their abilities and improving their efforts on the job. Try setting up regularly scheduled time with each worker so that you can address anything that comes up: the good and the bad.  Additionally, avoid giving negative feedback in a group setting. You owe it to your workers to address performance concerns or office tensions one-on-one.

Being Clear

If your task is to communicate something you may be ambivalent about, it may be harder to communicate effectively. It’s essential to stay concise. Some people tend to ramble or speak too generically, and it’s difficult to be on the receiving end of that. Think about how you would want to hear bad news. When you’re talking with employees, be clear and concise. Make sure you’re providing all of the information needed, and be receptive to questions and feedback.
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