You have generated all the resources needed to establish and grow your business. You know that there should be minimal chances of failure. Still when you begin, the output is not as good as you expected.
What’s hurting your business and hindering your progress? The answer is simple. You could be lagging behind in communication with your employees or clients.
The successful flow of information within any organization is important the following reasons:
- To reach out to targeted customers and to attract them to your product or service.
- To know your customers’ interests and needs.
- To let every member of your team know their responsibility.
- To build your team members’ skill set and to let them know about your expectation about work quality.
- To figure out the feasibility of new projects and generate ideas.
- To solve problems and conflicts.
Failure or delay in communication in any area of your business can affect your reputation. Let’s discuss some common communication mistakes that can impede your business growth.
1. You believe in an authoritative style of leadership.
The traditional style of managing a business is that executives should dictate “what has to be done”.
Seeking opinions from team members isn’t the norm. This style of managing your team is acceptable as far as you want to feel that you are an emerging businessman who has sole authority for decision making.
In a business environment where you have an educated, intelligent, and skilled workforce, this strategy has many drawbacks. Being inaccessible and less receptive to the ideas and opinions of others could make you miss out on opportunities.
This is opposite to a participative style of management where people believe and practice open communication among team members.
Even established businesses nowadays want to engage subordinates in the decision making process because this helps build employee loyalty and commitment, generate great ideas, and increase productivity.
You’re also in a better position to solve conflicts and since you’re creating a friendly working environment.
2. You’re holding unnecessary meetings or no meetings at all.
Too much communication or no communication at all can be disastrous for your business. If you’re having excessive meetings as a result of micromanaging your team, employees can get up feeling frustrated.
Not all meetings have a clear purpose or agenda too. If this is the case, group productivity time is wasted. This time could have been used to complete an assignment. If it’s necessary to track your employees’ work progress, make use of a smart tool such as Asana, Microsoft Teams, or Slack.
Meanwhile, not holding any meetings is also unwise. You could miss important updates and areas to improve on with your projects. Also, you will lose the opportunity of knowing the actual potential of your team members and how you can rotate their job to maximize their talents.
Here’s the best strategy: Have fewer meetings with a clear agenda. Whenever you feel the need to organize a meeting, it needs to have specific goals and objectives, and should be properly communicated among the attendees. Come up with a list of action points. Also, there is no need to engage irrelevant people in the meeting.
3. Not taking advantage of the right technology.
In a traditional office-based culture, business owners often don’t like change and rather feel safe using traditional modes of communication. Examples include formal in-person meetings, letters, telephones, faxes, and emails.
But today’s in business culture, more forms of technology are available that help bridge communication gaps, reduce wastage of time, and maximize productivity.
In particular, when businesses are shifted to a virtual culture as a result of uncertainty, it is important that businesses start using technology for its various operations.
For example, If you have some important message or news to share with the team members, you don’t wait for the next meeting. You can invite members to a Zoom meeting. You need to try new tools to coordinate with your team members any time you want.
4. Unclear deadlines and job roles.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
If you do not communicate job roles clearly and assign a task with a clear deadline, you’re making a big mistake. This will make your team members prioritize work not according to its urgency but according to their ease. Successful communication eliminates all forms of assumptions.
The instructions of a task should be well communicated to the assignee. For example, if you haven’t told a writer the required word limit or what style of referencing is acceptable for you, do not blame them later on for adding unnecessary details. This could lead to wasted time on both ends. You might have to rework on a project, which will eventually make your business inefficient.
5. Using a negative tone.
Your tone and style of communication have a great impact on how your employees feel about themselves and how they stay motivated.
This especially happens when you have to give feedback to them. The best executives or managers are those who communicate the drawbacks of assignments in a positive and friendly manner. If your tone is aggressive, humiliating, and demotivating, the employee may feel embarrassed.
You can avoid this using some smart tips. This is an opportunity for you to develop a bond of trust and care that fosters learning. You can appreciate the good things about their work first, give them suggestions based on your experience, and communicate the areas that need improvement.
Sometimes, this problem can also occur when you or your team is dealing with clients. If your tone with your client is not respectful, they would prefer to switch to another product or service provider.
A pleasant, friendly but professional way of communicating is essential to retain your clients and employees. For this, you need to set some communication standards and relay this to your team members as well.
6. You have failed to communicate organizational values.
You must communicate the values of your organization soon after the employee has joined. Else, you can’t blame them for not following a certain protocol or procedure.
For example, you need to inform a new employee that they are not supposed to contact the client directly without informing their manager. Don’t assume that they already know this. Make things clear and avoid ambiguity. Perhaps, in their previous experience, they’ve coordinated directly with a client.
The best strategy to avoid this mistake is to invest some time developing standard documents, rules, and instructional manuals. Employees should have access to a business document that is relevant to them and they may need it for their reference.
Also, during orientation, an employee should be informed about the right channels of communication and other important information necessary to perform their duties right.