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11 Communication skills for managers


May 16, 2023



Communication Skills for Managers

Ineffective communication is a recipe for workplace disaster. As a manager, it's one of your responsibilities to keep it from happening. This article will help you discover the essential communication skills for managers, so you'll know the best practices to boost productivity at work.

1. Active Listening

As a manager, you're often at the center of many conversations in the workplace. If you don't pay enough attention to the conversation, it's easy to assume and misunderstand. This can give room for errors, mistakes, and ineffective decisions that can potentially harm your company. To avoid these, you'll have to improve your active listening skills.

Communication Skill for Managers - Active Listening

Active listening is one of the most essential communication skills in the workplace. To be an active listener, you should fully immerse yourself in every conversation and display interest by maintaining eye contact and following non-verbal cues. It’s also best to ask open-ended questions to prompt more profound responses or reflect back on what's been said. 

Keep in mind that the goal of active listening is more than hearing what the speaker talks about and responding to them. It's about understanding what’s being said. Focus on the speaker and fully understand their message without interrupting or jumping to conclusions.

Excellent listening abilities allow you to make valuable decisions, solve problems effectively, and increase your team's engagement. It may take some time to develop this skill, but you'll be glad to know there are ways to make it happen.

Enhance your active listening skills using SC Training (formerly EdApp)'s list of active listening training courses. You can also get your team on board with the training so everyone gets an opportunity to improve their workplace productivity.

You can take advantage of SC Training (formerly EdApp)'s Editable Course Library for other relevant communication skills training resources.

Sign up with SC Training (formerly EdApp) for free and build your communication skills!

2. Clarity

Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and conflict, ultimately impacting productivity. But being clear in informing your team what they're supposed to do can prevent these issues from happening.

Communication Skill for Managers - Clarity

Clarity is a fundamental communication skill for managers to master. As a manager, you have to be concise, direct, and specific when communicating. That means avoiding any jargon or complex language that could lead to confusion. Keep it simple and use everyday language, so you can make sure your team can accurately receive and easily process your message.

Clear communication doesn't only guarantee that your team understands what you say, but it also lets them do their tasks more effectively and efficiently. Plus, it shows that you value their time and effort and are dedicated to helping them succeed.

3. Empathy

Being an empathetic manager means giving your coworkers your full attention so they'll feel assured that you value their thoughts and feelings. Consider any opinion they offer and provide constructive feedback when needed. It's best to take action to address concerns, actively support your team, and show genuine interest in their lives.

Communication Skill for Managers - Empathy

By displaying empathy, you can foster stronger relationships with your team members, increase engagement and productivity, and ultimately create a more positive and thriving workplace culture.

Use these empathy training courses to better interact and connect with your team, coworkers, or customers. You’ll also learn the significance of kindness, compassion, and understanding in the workplace.

4. Rapport-building

Rapport-building is a communication skill for managers that's essential to building trust, empathy, and mutual understanding.

Communication Skill for Managers - Rapport-Building

When communicating with your team, even the little things matter. You can start building rapport by keeping your appearance in check. Wearing neat clothes will make you feel more confident and approachable. Also, remember the basics of good communication: being active, clear, and respectful with the person you're talking with. 

To establish a connection, you should also find common ground with your team, such as shared interests or goals. Creating shared experiences, like team-building activities, can help with that. To top it off, you should mirror and match their mannerisms and speech appropriately to create a sense of familiarity and comfort.

Understanding your team's needs and concerns can go a long way. With rapport-building skills, you can build a positive work culture that promotes collaboration, innovation, and growth.

To improve on this, you can always look for relevant communication training for managers or check out our list of emotional intelligence training tools. These tools will better equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to improve essential soft skills in the workplace, like rapport-building.

5. Transparency

The lack of transparent communication in any business environment can breed unwanted stress, distrust, and toxicity. This forms negative habits like micromanaging, gossiping, and withholding important work-related information.

Communication Skill for Managers - Transparency

Transparency is a necessary communication skill for managers, and there are things you can do to establish it with your team. You can begin by being honest and straightforward with them about your company's goals, expectations, and challenges. That means disclosing any information that you see as important.

It will also help if you're realistic when analyzing your business. Share with your team how it's doing with the support of statistics and analytics. This should let them know where the company stands and how they're expected to act upon any urgent improvement tasks. And, of course, don't hesitate to ask questions and prompt your team to do the same. As a general rule, keep it professional at all times.

Modeling transparent communication sets the tone for your team to follow suit, creating a culture of openness and trust. With this, you can make sure everyone's on the same page. This will only pave the way for better collaboration, improved performance, and increased employee loyalty. 

6. Flexibility

Like other communication skills examples, flexibility is helpful for managers in their day-to-day tasks. Not being flexible in communication can make employees feel unheard or unvalued, escalating into frequent misunderstandings and frustration at work.

Communication Skill for Managers - Flexibility

As a manager, being a flexible communicator will show your team that you're willing to work with them to accommodate their needs – whether it's for a scheduling conflict or a personal issue that needs attention. To practice this skill, you can start by listening actively to your employees' needs and problems. Think of offering alternative solutions when addressing their concerns. Always ask for feedback and be open to suggestions.

By showing flexibility, you're also building trust with your team members. When employees know you're willing to listen to their needs and work with them to find a solution, they're more likely to trust and feel comfortable approaching you.

Consider exploring these training courses to brush up on your and your team's adaptability and flexibility skills.

7. Assertiveness

Being passive contributes to stress, lack of respect from your team, incompetence in making decisions, and a downturn in your self-worth. Also, if you're not assertive when communicating, it's more likely that your message gets lost and overshadowed by your delivery.

Communication Skill for Managers - Assertiveness

Assertive communication is an essential skill in the workplace, and it can be mastered with some simple techniques. First, be aware of your body language and make direct eye contact, but soften your gaze so it doesn't come across as challenging. Keep your physical stance relaxed and uncross your arms and legs to show confidence.

Be specific and direct when making your point, and avoid non-direct language. Sum up your main points by the end of your talk, and make sure everyone understands what you're talking about. But note that assertiveness isn't the same as aggressiveness, and you shouldn't communicate like you want to fight or argue.

Assertive communication is a great way to increase productivity and create a more positive work environment. Being proactive can also help you build respect and trust with your team, as they'll see their manager as someone confident and capable of making decisions and taking action.

Practice these assertive communication techniques regularly, and you'll get used to handling difficult situations or conversations within your team. You can also check out this list of difficult conversations training courses to aid you in upskilling for effective communication in management.

8. Timeliness

Timeliness is an essential communication skill for managers to possess. After all, effective communication also depends on timely exchanges of information. 

Communication Skill for Managers - Timeliness

Managers need to make sure that they communicate on time to keep their team informed and avoid misunderstandings. Respond promptly to emails, messages, and calls to show that you respect your employees' time and priorities. 

Deliver timely feedback, too. If you wait too long to give feedback, your team may forget the exact situation or behavior you're referring to. This can make the input less effective. Timely feedback is also more likely to be perceived as constructive rather than critical.

By doing these, you'll be able to reinforce good behaviors and prevent negative ones from becoming habits. It should help demonstrate that you care about your team's development and success.

9. Conflict Resolution and Mediation

Conflict resolution and mediation are vital communication skills for managers, as no business environment is safe from conflicts. When you ignore conflict, you make way for ineffective teamwork, reduced worker satisfaction, and increased employee turnover rate. As a manager, you need excellent conflict resolution skills to handle and settle workplace disputes effectively.

Communication Skill for Managers - Conflict Resolution and Mediation

There are useful communication strategies to resolve conflicts at work. One of those is immediately and openly addressing a problem with your team. This will prevent misunderstandings from escalating into full-blown disputes. It's also good to set clear expectations and work toward a solution that satisfies everyone involved.

Make use of your active listening skills when resolving issues. Listen carefully to all parties and acknowledge their individual concerns and opinions. Doing so can show that you understand and respect their point of view, which can go a long way in diffusing the tension. Keep in mind that everyone has different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

Using neutral terms and open body language is also important. Avoid using accusatory or inflammatory language that can escalate the conflict. Use neutral language that focuses on the issues at hand instead. Keep your body language open and non-threatening to show that you're open to working towards a solution.

There are conflict resolution online courses that can further add to your knowledge on devising peaceful solutions to any disagreements at work. By learning those, you can minimize the harmful effects of conflicts and maintain a positive work environment where everyone feels heard and respected. 

10. Praise and Recognition

A great way to create a positive work environment is to praise and recognize employees. You can achieve this by considering the following tips.

Communication Skill for Managers - Praise and Recognition

Make praise specific and timely. Rather than just saying "good job," tell the employee exactly what they did well and how it contributed to the company's success. Timing is also crucial - don't wait too long after the accomplishment to give recognition. This shows employees that you're paying attention and their efforts are appreciated. Regularly giving praise and recognition will create a workplace culture of positivity and encouragement.

Look for ways on how to keep employees motivated. Employees feel valued and inspired to continue performing well when they receive credit. Consider using training courses for managers and other relevant training courses to motivate employees, boost morale, increase productivity, and reduce turnover.

11. Positive Nonverbal Communication

Although last on this list, nonverbal communication is one of the most powerful management communication skills for managers. Communicating with your team is about more than what you say but how you say it. That means your body language can convey just as much as your words and can significantly impact how your message is received.

Communication Skill for Managers - Positive Nonverbal Communication

You can practice positive body language, like having open palm gestures and leaning slightly forward when talking with your team. With these, you'll give off a sense of an inclusive, likable, and friendly manager. Nod your head when someone’s speaking, and tilt your head slightly to encourage your team to share more. This would show you're engaged in the conversation and want to hear more about it.

Create a positive impression and build rapport with team members by maintaining good posture, keeping a relaxed and natural facial expression, and using appropriate facial expressions when conveying emotions. You can use proper hand gestures to emphasize points and make communication more engaging and dynamic. Observe and mirror the body language of others to create a feeling of connection and understanding.

Take advantage of body language training courses to build trust and strengthen work relationships. A little reminder, though. Body language speaks louder than words, so always be mindful of your nonverbal cues when communicating with your team.


Ella Mar

Ella is a content writer for SC Training (formerly EdApp), an award-winning e-learning management system designed to help companies deliver high-quality workplace training. In her free time, she enjoys painting, reading, or playing with her cat.

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