Communication Matters

Communication Matters

By Judith Lindenberger |

As a human resources consultant, I have conducted many employee surveys over the years to ascertain what employees like about their workplaces and what they think needs to be changed. In many cases, one of the key recommendations from employees to make the workplace better is “provide better communication.”

What do employees want to know about? They want to know before a change occurs that it is coming. They want to know why the change is happening. And most of all, they want to know how it will affect them. If you can get ahead of your communications efforts by providing answers to these questions, your employees will be less stressed, more productive, and your change efforts will be more successful.

According to A Manager’s Guide to Communicating with Employees, “from a communications perspective, employees feel appreciated and valued when:

– they are the first to hear important news

– they are regularly consulted

– they are listened to

– their suggestions are acted upon.”

Some of the best ways I have found to communicate with employees are as follows:

  1. Send mass emails for communicating information that is timely such as an office closing due to bad weather.
  2. Conduct regular staff meetings to discuss department news, delegate work, and share information from senior management.
  3. Conduct regular Town Hall meetings, hosted by senior leaders, to provide high-level information about upcoming events or give status updates. Anticipate and welcome questions from your audience.
  4. Encourage employees to let you know what’s not working and offer their suggestions for improvement. Create a culture where open communication – the good, the bad and the ugly – is sanctioned.
  5. Provide a suggestion box and reward good ideas. Let employees know that suggestions need to be positive, respectful of others, and doable. For example, “Fire my manager” is not an appropriate use of a suggestion box.
  6. Walk around the office and be available for spontaneous conversations.
  7. Meet regularly with employees, one on one, to discuss their performance.
  8. Conduct fun teambuilding exercises and meeting ice-breakers for employees to get to know one another.

Finally, to be a good communicator, make sure that you have been heard. Ask questions to learn if your message has gotten through to your audience. As George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

I am curious… what are your best ideas for effective workplace communication?

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Judith_Lindenberger/2286146

Handling Work Intentionally Done Wrong?

By Lance Winslow (September 27, 2013)

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If you are an employee of a company, let me give you some advice; you should never do any work intentionally wrong. Sure, that good career advice and I suppose you don’t see yourself ever doing anything like that, but I am also certain you’ve seen someone else do it. Not long ago, I was having a conversation about this with an acquaintance of mine who works in a manufacturing type industry.

He specifically asks how I have dealt with “handling work intentionally done wrong?” Intentionally done wrong, questioned the question. Well, I’d want to find out why! Disgruntled employee, cutting corners, malice, or sabotage? That’s a scary thought. I’ve seen union employees do this to get back at a company, and angry workers purposely do something like that. In my own company I’ve caught people doing things incorrectly – on purpose – suffice it to say I was not amused in the least.

In the fleet truck wash business we gauged production bonuses for units completed – following my ancestor’s model “Fredrick Winslow Taylor” and sometimes in their haste to hit bonus numbers they’d cut corners, quality slacked, and customers got upset. For me that was a BIG DEAL, because one office for a trucking terminal, if that manager was on a conference call and mentioned we did a crappy job, terminal managers in 6-10 states might know about it, and that hurt other team members, franchisees, company owned units and my reputation as well, screw that.

Can proper bonuses work to keep people doing it right – sometimes, but not all the time, the motivation to do things wrong is a personal issue, and emotional decision – and almost always a bad decision. Now then, when it comes to bonuses – the bonuses must be individual based, special team based, customer satisfaction based, production based and quality based, so do them the best of any company on this planet.

Not number two, screw number two, be number one, that’s what this company is about and if you are not about that, you are in the wrong company! That was my motto. Vince Lombardi rocks! I am not saying everyone has to be a Clark Kent, but they should be striving to be, work in progress and walking the talk.

So, it’s not just units produced, units produced without flaws, the 99.8% Six Sigma way. Give bonuses for ideas to increase efficiency, streamline work flows, ask for ideas, give those ideas their proper due, a simple color coding of materials could speed up the fork lift loader by 2-minutes searching for the right metal grades, or could help those looking for the next job order clip-board a few seconds, every little bit that makes sense (cents) makes dollars too.

Yes, as you can see, I think a lot about this. Production, efficiency, quality, customer service, team work, winning = profits, and profits are good! They represent proof of efficiency in free-markets. No they aren’t all of it, but the score board matters. Bureaucracies run a little different, different goals, but whatever those goals are – truly are – there is no excuse for not achieving them in the most efficient and expeditious manner, and before you take on new challenges, have that foundation running like a Swiss Watch first!

If someone purposely is doing something wrong, you need to know why, remove that employee for cause, reprimand them, or get them to do it right from now on without waiver – then trust but verify. Communication during this process is essential. Please consider all this and think on it.

Exactly How to Delegate

30 Apr 2013 – Stefani Yorges –

PoD_Delegating_Teamwork (Custom)

Did you know that there are 5 different levels of delegation? If you don’t clarify which level you intended when handing off an assignment or project, miscommunication and disaster can result.

Mary, for example, gave her direct report an important project in order to relieve some of her own burden at work. She is frustrated when that direct report keeps checking in (almost hourly) with status updates and questions for approval. She grumbles, “I might as well have done it myself!”

Paul is also frustrated, but for a different reason. He handed off a critical assignment to a promising direct report that he hoped would be a great learning and development opportunity. A week later, he is surprised that he has not gotten any status report. He fears the employee is dropping the ball and not taking the assignment seriously.

The ability to delegate is critical for leadership success. Bearing the burden all by yourself is unsustainable, so you need to assemble a team of qualified individuals to assist you. Then give these future leaders authority and responsibility. But how much do you want them deciding on their own? How often do you want them to check in? To avoid potential disaster, set clear expectations about the level of authority you are handing them.

Five levels of delegation:

Level 1: Do exactly what I ask. I have already decided what I want the final outcome to look like. I already researched all the options and know what I want. Just follow my instructions.

Level 2: Gather information. I want you to research the topic and bring back a summary report. We will discuss the information together. Then I will make a decision and tell you what I want you to do next.

Level 3: Make a recommendation. I would like you to research the topic and outline several options. Be prepared to give me the pros and cons of each option. Make a recommendation by telling me what you think we should do. If I agree with your recommendation, I will authorize you to move forward.

Level 4: Make a decision. I trust you to do the research and make the best decision you can. Just keep me in the loop and tell me what you are doing. I don’t want to be surprised at the end.

Level 5: Implement. Make whatever decision you think is best and move forward on your own. I trust you completely to implement your best decision. There is no need to check in with me. You have my full support.

The problem with Mary is that she thought she was delegating at Level 5 while her direct report was operating at Level 1. Paul’s direct report was assuming his assignment was given at Level 5 while Paul wanted to be kept informed at Level 3. You can avoid these kinds of problems by simply clarifying expectations at the front end.

Team Building Within The Work Force – iMA Can Make a Difference

26 Feb 2013 – Zoe L Robinson –

PlusOne Dynamics Team Building iMA Workshop (Sm)
When it comes to working environments, many businesses lack communication across teams. Of course people with similar personalities and interests will get along and tend to stick together, however within a business environment it is important to be professional and make sure that everybody can feel free to communicate with each other.

For those in your company who only talk to people who they actually like it can cause problems and friction within a team.  In the workplace everybody should have the attitude of helping each other out and exchanging ideas etc.  Outside of work it is out of your control and people can obviously meet up if they want to or meet up with friends they have outside of work if they don’t.

If you find that you think your business could benefit from bringing the shy people out of their shells and maybe putting the loud ones back in theirs for a bit, you should take a look into team building activities.  Some people don’t think these work very well, however they are a great place to start.  The best way to make sure it works is to have the boss organise it.  Find out which people don’t particularly mix with one another and make sure they end up on the same team.  The larger the organisation you have the easier it should be to make sure that friends don’t end up being together.

 

You can choose from a number of activities like something sporty such as water rafting or a high ropes course which are really fun to take part in and will provide a real challenge element.  You could even give a prize to the team who completes the courses in the quickest times to ensure that they work as a team.  If you think your workforce wouldn’t appreciate something sporty and would try to avoid attending, pick something different like going to a chocolate making workshop or visit somewhere that sets up quizzes and puzzles for teams to try and solve.  Just like with the active ones you could create a competitive element.

 

Staff will be put into an environment where they are with work colleagues so need to remain professional, but also feel more relaxed as they aren’t in the working office. Hopefully the groups will bond over the tasks and learn that they actually have some things in common, which will then translate when they go back to work.

 

The Bottom Line: Getting the best from teams and effective team working is key to your success as a Leader and business. The challenge is to adapt your thinking, communication and style to leverage the potential of teams.  At PlusOne Dynamics we invite you to complete our free iMA Questionnaire,it will only take 2 minutes and will reveal your preferred communication style as a successful Leader / Manager plus how you can communicate effectively with your team while enhancing connectivity and productivity.

iMA is an exciting universal language, designed to maximise connectivity: mutual liking, trust, understanding and respect. Everyone speaks one of four iMA dialects, putting them on the same wavelength as 25% of the world’s population.  iMA is a simple way of observing and understanding the differences in people, then connecting with them on their wavelength. When this happens communication, trust, understanding, co-operation and sales increase, and stress and tension decrease.
I stands for Identify your iMA colour style and that of the person you want to connect with.
M stands for Modify your message by encoding it in a way that is most likely to be understood.
A is Adapt the way you treat one person vs. another.

Review our iMA Services here, and consider a PlusOne Dynamics iMA Workshop for your next team building event.

To become an even better Leader we invite you to download our PlusOne Dynamics free e-book – “12 Cs of Building a Team that Works“, you will gain valuable insight into to how you can grow and build your team using effective communication and contexts. This FREE e-Book provides a simple “answer these questions” guide surrounding your team, communication and connectivity.

Download Here – No Signup required!
http://www.plusonedynamics.com/12cs_for_building_a_team.html

Communication Starts With Respecting What Others Have To Say: iMA Can Help

25 Feb 2013 – Timothy F Bednarz –

PoD_Team_Personalities (Sm)

As teams are composed of different personalities with different communication styles, communication problems will occur even when team structures are properly constructed and implemented.

Leaders must learn to deal with the practical elements of communication and overcome problems associated with group or team dynamics before moving ahead with more advanced communication issues.

It is important for leaders to understand that before teams can learn to communicate effectively, team members must first learn to communicate by each respecting what the other has to say. Leaders will find that this is the initial challenge that must be overcome after team formation.

Leaders should understand the common problems experienced by groups that can hinder the effectiveness and productivity of the team.

 

Floundering

Teams commonly have trouble intiating and ending discussions. Members flounder, wondering what actions to take next. Resistance is experienced as the team moves from one phase of the discussion to the next.

Problems from the onset suggest the team lacks clarity or is overwhelmed by the assignment. These startup problems suggest that team members are not comfortable enough with one another to engage in meaningful discussions.

Floundering during discussions suggests that the team has not arrived at a consensus. Team members can be reluctant to expose their work to review and criticism.

 

Overbearing Participants

Overbearing participants wield a disproportionate amount of influence over the team. They often have a senior rank within the company or possess in-depth technical knowledge.

While most teams benefit from their participation, they can cause problems when they forbid any discussion that encroaches on their area of expertise or authority. Overbearing participants will tend to see such group solutions as unworkable, or they will use technical jargon signaling that the subject is off-limits to the group.

Leaders can minimize these problems by reinforcing to the team that, as long as it pertains to the current subject, no area is off-limits. Privately, leaders can talk with overbearing individuals to let them know that it is important for the group to explore the particular subject and for individuals to understand the process.

 

Dominating Participants

Some team members can consume a disproportionate amount of time by talking too much. Their excessive input inhibits other members of the team from participating. Leaders should structure discussions to encourage equal participation, and openly solicit input and contributions from all team members.

 

Reluctant Participants

Reluctant participants may feel shy or unsure of themselves in the team, and must be encouraged to contribute their ideas and perspectives. Problems can develop when there are no activities built-in to persuade these individuals to participate.

Leaders must act as gatekeepers to the discussion by openly and actively soliciting input and contributions from these individuals. These measures ensure balanced participation from the entire team.

 

Self-Assured Statements

Some individuals express personal beliefs and assumptions in a self-assured manner. These statements are so forceful that other team members assume they are hearing a presentation of facts. Consequently, members are reluctant to question these statements without facts and data to defend their position. They may also fear being wrong and thus losing face with the team.

Leaders cannot allow unquestioned acceptance of opinions as facts. They must use techniques and questions that compel members to support their statement with facts and to hold it up to the scrutiny of the entire team.

 

Rush to Accomplishment

Many teams will have individual members who are impatient and wish to rush through the training activity. These members will come to a decision before the team has had the time to discuss and consider alternative solutions. They will then urge the group to decide matters quickly, and will discourage any further efforts to analyze or discuss the matter. These members can communicate their impatience using nonverbal behavior or direct statements.

Leaders must remind the group of their focus and make sure that specific members do not exert pressure on the team to finish prematurely. If all else fails, leaders may need to directly confront the offender.

 

Attribution

As a way of bringing meaning to apparent disorder and confusion, people tend to attribute motives to individuals they disagree with or don’t understand. This behavior can lead to hostility in the team environment. Leaders must reaffirm the purpose, boundaries and framework of the training exercise and intervene when such behaviors are exhibited by team members.

 

Discounting

Discounting occurs when team members fail to assign other members’ ideas and options any validity, credence or credit. If discounting happens frequently, teams can experience hostility.

Every team member deserves respect and attention from the entire team. Leaders must ensure that the team is trained from the onset in active listening and other constructive behaviors. When possible, the leader should provide support to the discounted individual.

Leaders will also need to privately discuss the matter with the team member who is responsible for discounting.

 

Digression and Tangents

Wide-ranging and unfocused team discussions are a natural tendency as teams stray from the topic. While some digressions may be entertaining, they divert the team from the purpose of the activity. Team facilitators are responsible for bringing these discussions back to the team’s agenda.

 

Feuding Team Members

Feuding team members can disrupt the entire team with their personal disagreements. Usually these feuds predate the team and are best dealt with outside of the team environment. Leaders can offer to facilitate a discussion to end the personal feud or at least arrive at an agreement concerning their behavior in the team setting.

 

The Bottom Line: Getting the best from teams and effective team working is key to your success as a Leader or Manager. The challenge is to adapt your thinking, communication and style to leverage the potential of teams.  At PlusOne Dynamics we invite you to complete our free iMA Questionnaire,it will only take 2 minutes and will reveal your preferred communication style as a successful Leader / Manager plus how you can communicate effectively with your team while enhancing connectivity and productivity.

iMA is an exciting universal language, designed to maximise connectivity: mutual liking, trust, understanding and respect. Everyone speaks one of four iMA dialects, putting them on the same wavelength as 25% of the world’s population.  iMA is a simple way of observing and understanding the differences in people, then connecting with them on their wavelength. When this happens communication, trust, understanding, co-operation and sales increase, and stress and tension decrease.
I stands for Identify your iMA colour style and that of the person you want to connect with.
M stands for Modify your message by encoding it in a way that is most likely to be understood.
A is Adapt the way you treat one person vs. another.

 

To become an even better Leader we invite you to download our PlusOne Dynamics free e-book – “12 Cs of Building a Team that Works“, you will gain valuable insight into to how you can grow and build your team using effective communication and contexts. This FREE e-Book provides a simple “answer these questions” guide surrounding your team, communication and connectivity.

Download Here – No Signup required!
http://www.plusonedynamics.com/12cs_for_building_a_team.html