The most difficult aspect of running a business is managing people. I am confident that many of you, on countless occasions, have had to release or lay off employees, or give corrective feedback. These types of scenarios require that you have the communication skills to effectively manage these difficult situations, or similarly, difficult people.
I think we can all agree that the last two years have created a challenging work environment for us all. Our workplace management practices have been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has been difficult to maintain good communication with our workforce. Thus, it has become even more important to be mindful about how we communicate with our employees.
Business owners and managers should be conscious of the possible struggles their employees confront and respond with empathy. Establishing an empathetic attitude will foster honest conversations between employees and managers. By promoting a culture of openness and trust, you will avoid misunderstandings and ease unnecessary tensions.
There are a few simple things that you can do to improve your communication skills including:
- Use active listening
- Ask questions
- Make eye contact
- Validate the other person’s feelings
- Respect what others have to say and acknowledge them
What exactly IS “active listening” and how do you do it? The British Heart Foundation, in its Heart Matters online publication, offers tips on how to be an active listener.
- Face the speaker
- “Listen” to non-verbal cues, too
- Don’t interrupt
- Listen without judging, or jumping to conclusions
- Don’t start planning what to say next
- Show that you’re listening by nodding your head, or verbal encouragements
- Don’t impose your opinions or solutions
- Stay focused
- Paraphrase and summarize or “reflect back” what you’ve heard to show you understand it
Find out more here: https://bit.ly/2MCshy6
Now is the time for a reset, and to reestablish those lines of communication so we can all benefit from a reliable well-informed workforce.
Martin G. Brookes, President
National Tile Contractors Association
Martin Brookes is an experienced company president with a demonstrated history of working in the building materials industry. Skilled in construction, contractors, contract negotiation, sales management, and flooring. Strong business development professional with a City and Guilds London Institute focused in Mason/Masonry from Chesterfield College of Technology.
Brookes is the 2021-2022 President for the National Tile Contractors Association.