18 Ways To Develop Communication for Managers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 15, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effective managers are those with clear and consistent communication. Being able to communicate easily with employees makes managers better leaders, reinforces work relationships, and improves workflow. Understanding the fundamental elements of communication in management is key to succeeding as a manager. In this article, we explain the benefits of maximizing communication for managers and provide 18 ways to develop managerial communication skills.

Benefits of better communication for managers

Having strong communication for managers is key to maximizing the efficacy of any team. Communication in the workplace is the essential transference of information that connects colleagues, teams, projects, and clients or customers. When managers are good at communicating, they can easily motivate staff and increase their level of trust. They can also increase staff engagement and, in the long term, increase staff retention by mitigating any other issues employees may have.

18 ways to develop communication skills as a manager

Here are a series of ways to grow the communication skills you have in a managerial role:

1. Target the right message to the right people

If employees frequently receive broadly targeted information that doesn't apply to them, it's easy for them to disengage with your communication channels. Make sure that all communication is directed precisely at the individuals it relates to, so that you can keep engagement high. Ideally, when employees receive communication, they know it's meant for them and won't hesitate to engage. This applies to all communication channels, including printed media, emails, and internal message systems.

2. Be authentic

When communicating with staff, it's vital to be authentic in your motives, personality, and interactions. Being honest with your opinions (when it's appropriate) is important for building relationships with the staff you manage. Staff tend to trust and engage more with managers who are authentic in their communication and don't seem to hide anything. In this way, representing your genuine self can benefit your relationship with your team.

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3. Don't delay in communicating

Effective communication is quick communication. When managers communicate without delay, staff come to expect that they can get the information they need as soon as they need it. Making sure that your communication is prompt is one of the most effective ways to increase productivity and give your team as much time as possible to respond to messages.

4. Communicate to everyone equally

While it's wise to target communication to those it's most relevant to, another key communication principle is to make sure that you're communicating with everybody. Ensure that you instigate targeted communication with every member of your team regularly and that nobody goes too long without hearing from you. This is an essential component of maintaining healthy workplace relationships.

5. Communicate regularly

Not only is it wise to communicate with your entire team, but also to communicate regularly. Whether it's a weekly email or meeting, you can aim to open communication channels at regular times or occasions. These communication windows can give employees the opportunity to raise issues, ask questions, or connect with any topic they wouldn't otherwise be able to.

6. Be transparent in your communication

In addition to authenticity, transparency is also a vital part of effective communication. Transparency means being honest with staff about what's happening in the business. You could be transparent about changes in the company, upcoming plans, or reasons for managerial decisions you've made. Remember, though, that some information is best to remain private, such as the salaries of other employees.

Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication and How Can You Use It in the Workplace?

7. Ensure communication goes both ways

Communication is vital to making teams as effective as possible, but that isn't just true for managers conveying information to staff. Good communication is open between everyone, so it's a manager's duty to make sure that staff have the opportunity to communicate any thoughts, concerns, or questions they have. Managers can open lines of communication by holding meetings or being available to receive emails or internal messages, and actively soliciting feedback from employees regularly.

8. Communicate across multiple mediums

The best way to ensure effective communication is to implement multiple channels of communication. Each channel has its own advantages, so having a range allows a broader opportunity for communication. For instance, emails are useful for conveying a larger amount of information at once, instant messaging platforms allow quicker responses, and calling someone allows more comprehensive discussion.

Related: Active Listening Skills: A Key To Effective Communication in the Workplace

9. Remember that it's not all business

If staff feel as if you only communicate when it's essential for the business, it can hinder the growth of workplace relationships. It's not necessary to be excessively friendly with staff you manage, but strictly communicating only about matters of business can lead to workplace relationships which are overly formal. Make sure to ask team members about their lives, tell them about yours, and show an interest in them as people who exist outside of the company.

10. Communicate across distance

As an increasing number of offices allow staff to work from home, many common in-person methods of communication stop being as useful. It's wise to adjust your communication practices to include those who work remotely. Using video calling software, instant messaging platforms, and hosting regular virtual meetings can help to make sure that staff who work remotely or on the road have access to the same communication channels as those who work in an office.

11. Champion one communication channel

While diversity of communication channels is necessary, it's also wise to establish a central channel through which the most important communication happens. In most companies, email is usually the channel where they share vital updates and other information. If your team relies on a faster and more dynamic transfer of communication, then instant messaging systems may benefit its productivity. Evaluate the communication requirements of your projects, team members, and stakeholders to choose a channel to champion as your default platform.

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12. Be approachable

A sign of a healthy workplace culture is if staff feel like they can approach you to discuss issues, ask questions, or pitch ideas. If staff know that you're open to being approached and that you have time for them, it benefits your whole team's ability to succeed by keeping communication open. Managers can only solve problems they know about, so establishing an "open-door" policy which allows staff to approach them means they can correct those issues more quickly.

13. Don't overload communication with information

Just as it's wise to make sure your communication isn't solely about business matters, it also benefits your managerial communication to avoid overloading your emails or messages with information. Make sure that staff can easily digest the information they're given by separating informational emails into different topics. Within emails, formatting them so that information is easy to find and remember using bullet points, headers, and breaking up long passages can be helpful.

14. Track the success of your communication

To know if your communication is effective, you can implement ways to track engagement. This can be software that tracks email engagement, feedback portals, or simply asking during meetings. Tracking the success of your communication efforts can show you where you can improve in engagement or the efficiency of your comms channels.

15. Strategize

If you want to maximize your communication efforts, you can create a communication strategy to plan the best use of your channels. A communication strategy could define which types of information get shared on which channels, the best times to distribute updates, or setting up regular meeting times to discuss particular topics. Strategies formalize plans that ensure each element of your communication is as effective as possible.

16. Develop relationships

Developing your workplace relationships means that facilitating open communication is much easier. Effective workplace relationships foster trust, respect, and interest in each other's lives. Having effective workplace relationships means being able to rely on your teammates and communicate more efficiently and honestly. Workplace relationships aren't necessarily friendships, but can still be positive interpersonal relationships that you enjoy maintaining.

17. Stay engaging and relevant

The more engaging your communication efforts are, the more effective they are for transferring information. When staff are engaged, they're far more ready to communicate and take part in discussions. You can increase engagement with staff by incentivizing responses and providing only interesting, necessary, and relevant information.

18. Encourage communication from employees

Whenever possible, you can maximize your team's communication by encouraging employees to offer their own feedback, ideas, and concerns. Make sure to take time in every meeting to allow team members to offer their viewpoints and take part in any discussions. Asking your team relevant questions is also a great way to stimulate input from team members.

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