Are you getting the best results from your team?

How do you communicate with your team? Do you think it’s OK to tell people what to do just once?  Or is repeating yourself part of your communication strategy?

Managers who think they have power often expect to say something once and the job will be done.  Yet so often they find that the job isn’t done to their satisfaction and they often end up being reactive, fire-fighting, and repeating themselves out of frustration.  In this situation how frustrated and annoyed do you think the staff are? So how do you get the best results?

Effective managers recognise the importance of communication and buy-in from their staff and they actually set out to repeat themselves at least once.  By doing this they find that tasks get done faster, with fewer hiccups, and as managers they are more respected and liked by their team.

In the same way that people need to experience a marketing message multiple times and through multiple media before they commit to buy from you, it is equally important for you to use different media and repeat your communication to get really good buy-in from your team.  Make them feel valued and worthy of your positive attention.

I find the following steps have a give the best results.

  1. Make your first communication face to face wherever possible.  This allows you to use your body language, tone of voice, and verbal message to get buy-in from your team.  It also allows you to read their body language and hear their tone of response to understand whether there are likely to be any issues preventing the job getting done.
  2. Confirm your discussions in writing.  This reminds them of the commitment they have made and it increases the likelihood that they have understood exactly what is required.  It also allows them to reflect and think about whether there is anything that needs clarifying before they set out to do the job.  Nowadays we are inundated with messages and communication and by receiving the communication through more than one medium it is more likely that we will understand it and remember it.
  3. Choose your words carefully when communicating.  Before you set out, whether face to face or in writing, think about what your objective is, and what language will be most likely to get the result you want.  Firstly does the person have the skills to do the job? Do you need to motivate the person into doing something they might not be comfortable with? Are there obstacles that might prevent them from doing a good job?  Do you need to help them remove the obstacles or do they need reassurance that they are capable of doing that themselves?

So, remember that a bit of forethought and considered communication are key to getting the best out of your team.  Ask yourself whether you can improve your results by adopting these three simple steps.

This blog was inspired by research undertaken by Tsedal Neeley and Paul Leonardi (hbr.org).

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