How to create an open line of communication between you and your employees
Creating and maintaining an open line of communication between you and your employees is crucial for a successful business. Doing so will not only foster good relationships between you and your employees, but it will also encourage employees to come to you with any problems that may adversely affect your business.
There are a number of things you can do and resources you can take advantage of that can help create an open line of communication between you and your employees:
- Listen. One of the most important ways you can create an open line of communication is to listen to your employees and their needs. If you are not a good listener, they will not come to you. Good listeners stay focused on the topic at hand and actually listen to what the other person is saying. Oftentimes in conversation, it's tempting to let your mind wander or to think about what you're going to say next rather than focusing on what the person talking is saying. In addition, part of being a good listener is letting the other person finish talking without interrupting or becoming defensive. Remember that communication is two-way; allowing others to speak and share their opinions and insights is part of effectively communicating.
- Have an open door policy. An open door policy in which employees can come and approach you with a problem at any time your door is open is helpful in creating an open line of communication between you and your employees by showing you are approachable and willing to listen.
- Think first. You may have a mindful of good ideas or insightful comments, but they will be next to useless if you are unable to convey them in a way that makes sense. Think about what you're going to say before you say it. By organizing your thoughts before conveying them, you are doing your listener a favor, as it is easy for him or her to follow along with what you're saying.
- Concentrate on your body language. Whether you realize it or not, you are communicating just as much with your body as you are with your mouth. Keep in mind that certain gestures and postures convey a certain attitude. Folding your arms shows that you are defensive, and looking away or not making eye contact shows you are disinterested or distracted in what the other person is saying. Being aware of body language will help to maintain open lines of communication.
- Use appropriate language. This is especially appropriate in the business world. Avoid swearing or using slang when communicating with co-workers or superiors. You may think you are making yourself "cool" or approachable, but it actually achieves the opposite effect.
- Encourage employees to come to you. Your employees may not feel comfortable communicating with you because you don't encourage it. By letting your employees know they are free to talk to you about any workplace issue at any time will help to keep the lines of communication open.
- Reach out. You shouldn't wait for your employees to come to you all the time. Instead, reach out to them by asking questions and making sure things are running smoothly. By being aware of them, you will be able to tell when certain issues need to be communicated.
The above tips will help you to create an open line of communication between you and your employees.