If you’ve been promoted to a Manager recently, you’ve probably noticed a significant change. Now you have different responsibilities and roles to fill. You will also have some opportunities to advance your career and the careers of those around you.
However, one word of caution is in order here for any newly-minted Managers: about half of new managers don’t make it through their first year in their new roles. One of the main reasons they struggle to succeed is because they lack the needed communication skills to guide their team to success.
Here are some communication practices to help keep you in the 50% group who made it through their first year unscathed:
Convey your goals to your employees
You need to be able to articulate your vision for the future of the team and the company. You must help them understand your goals, what you expect of them, and how you need them to perform in order to meet these expectations.
Your employees may struggle with what to do or how to do it if your communication with them is too vague. If they don’t “get” what you’re saying, they will be confused and may eventually lose confidence in you as a leader. Once that happens, it will be harder to persuade them to follow you in the future.
Be proactive in communicating with your team
It’s always preferable for managers to have an “open door” policy and be approachable, but excellent managers don’t sit back and wait for the bad news to come to them. Instead, they are out in the work environment soliciting feedback. Taking the initiative shows your employees that you are concerned about their needs, and it also allows you to discover issues that need attention immediately.
Develop your listening skills
Asking for feedback is a significant step in the right direction toward effective communication, but it must be coupled with active listening to do the most good. As you talk with your employees, stay engaged by asking questions when you want something clarified. Also, try to improve your ability to read body language and other non-verbal communication cues.
Improve your writing skills
There are going to be times when a manager can’t communicate in person. For these times, you must write explicit, concise emails and memos. Avoid texting abbreviations and write your messages in a professional voice. The way you write can add to your status as a manager or tell a story about you that’s less than flattering.
These are some of the communication skills that every new or prospective manager should strive to develop. They will serve you well beyond your first year and better position you for immediate success.
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