Are You Saying These Things to Your Employees?

Joe Weinlick
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A Harris Poll conducted in 2015 notes major communication issues that keep managers from becoming effective team leaders. As many as 63 percent of employees want bosses to recognize their accomplishments and achievements. Similarly, many workers feel underappreciated by managers.

Managers should avoid communication issues before they start by taking a proactive approach to interpersonal relationships at work. Employees who take a greater psychological interest in their jobs become more productive, remain healthier and contribute more fully to the team than employees who feel stuck in a rut at the office.

Supervisors who say these six basic things to team members foster better employee engagement:

1. "This is what I appreciate about you."

It's not enough for a boss to say "way to go team." Instead, managers can alleviate major communication issues by leaving specific, constructive, positive feedback about how and why an employee did something correct. Good leaders notice individual, unique contributions found nowhere else in the company.

2. "Thank you."

A simple "thank you," whether in public or in private, enhances communication because politeness begets politeness. Meaningful ways to express appreciation range from saying a quick "thanks" in the elevator to noting employee contributions in a company newsletter.

3. "What do you think?"

Managers who ask workers' opinions foster employee engagement by allowing employees to talk about what's on their minds. Supervisors who ask for new ideas, and then give credit to the person responsible for the idea, help innovate the company and move forward.

4. "Here's what to expect."

The tendency for companies to withhold information until the last minute revolves around proprietary information, intellectual property and stock prices. Unfortunately, communication issues arise when employees have to scramble at the last minute to change routines. Bosses, from the CEO down the lowest manager, should keep employees in the information loop and tell them about changes as soon as possible.

5. "I have some feedback."

Managers should maintain open lines of honest communication with workers. Supervisors need to give instant feedback to correct issues. They should encourage team members to return the favor by allowing employees to express concerns about the supervisory role on the team. Transparency motivates staff members to do a better job and improve the workplace. When individual performances improve, the entire team moves forward and achieves collective goals.

6. "Let me tell you a story."

Supervisors make mistakes too. Bosses should not be afraid to show their human nature to the team, especially if the manager sees someone making a mistake he made "back in the day." An anecdote about a past workplace mistake serves as a bonding moment and as a learning tool for everyone. When a boss admits he "learned the hard way," he helps protect his team from making the same mistake.

Communication issues can stop before they start when bosses engage in active feedback with their teams. Better communication with workers creates a more enjoyable work environment for everyone. Companies, in turn, should encourage managers who foster this kind of attitude by rewarding positive behavior on all levels.

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