What could you, as a manager, do to be a better communicator? The folks at OfficeTeam asked respondents in a recent survey to identify areas where their bosses could improve. The responses they got are worth your attention:
"Standing up for staff when needed." "The best employees want someone who will be their advocate," says OfficeTeam executive director Diane Domeyer. This can involve several things: promoting employees' viewpoints, protecting the team from off-base questioning or criticism, and holding employees to consistent performance standards. "Letting certain employees or situations fall under the radar can fuel speculation of favoritism," Domeyer notes. Whether or not such suspicions are groundless, they're unfair to your good workers.
"Nipping office politics in the bud." "Managers who limit the impact of office politics show they value and respect their team members," Domeyer says. Again, consistent, well-communicated performance expectations are key. And remember that any communication is usually better than none; when you fail to keep your staff informed and involved, the grapevine and rumor mill take up the slack. Simply staying accessible — keeping up with your e-mail and voicemail — can go far to keep rumors and innuendo at bay and take some of the sting out of office politics.
"Talking less and listening more." It's critical for you to constantly check your understanding of what's happening on your team; take the initiative to ask questions and observe interactions between co-workers or with customers. Also, by demonstrating the important of listening, you're leading by example and can "not only encourage staff to develop similar skills, but also promote a more positive corporate culture," Domeyer says.