If you’re like most managers, you probably want to foster a strong professional relationship with your employees. But you might feel like you are worlds apart. While it is true that employees tend to have different concerns and perspectives than managers have, that doesn’t mean you need to be separated by a giant gulf. Fortunately, the gap between employees and management generally comes down to communication. Here’s how to improve it.

The Generation Gap

Did you know that a single workplace could have workers and managers from five different generations? People are individuals, and you can’t assume that just because they belong to a specific generation that they communicate in a particular way. But when that many generations are working side by side, it’s inevitable that communications could sometimes become garbled. Consider putting together a committee of workers and managers of all ages to help address communication problems and brainstorm solutions that work for everyone.

Look for Misunderstandings

Many communication problems boil down to a simple misunderstanding. If a problem arises, sit down with your employee and review what happened. In most cases, you’ll find that one or both of you misinterpreted something that was said or written. Talk it out and come up with a solution for the future.

Check Your Tech

Sometimes communication goes wrong due to faulty technology. Maybe a message didn’t go through or an email was redirected to the Spam folder. Especially today, when so many people are working remotely, making sure your technology is up to speed is vital. If you don’t have an IT department, consider bringing in a consultant to help you determine if you need to upgrade.

Use Positive Reinforcement

You know the old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”? Overall, people want to do the right thing. They also want to feel like their contributions are valued. Reward your employees for achieving key milestones, perhaps by catering lunch for a group achievement or providing a small gift card for an individual accomplishment. Even a simple “thank you” for going above and beyond can help employees feel like they matter.

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