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How to give your staff more information and support

One of the leading causes of stress in the workplace is when employees are given tasks with no clear information on how to complete them.

Communication is one of the most vital skills any manager can have. That’s why we have an entire workshop dedicated entirely to effective communication at work.

Given we all communicate every day, it can be easy to take communication for granted. While not everyone communicates in the same way, there are certain techniques that allow us all to have our voices heard, be understood, and work together easily.

Communication can be thought of as the art of transmitting information. As a manager, you must communicate clearly, ensuring your team has all the important information.

Why giving your staff clear information is so important

When we need to communicate at work, we’re usually under time pressure. Tasks need to be done, progress needs to be made, and we need to get to meetings. Good communication is often sacrificed in favour of speed, complex tasks are cut to simple orders, and we move on to getting things done.

But this isn’t the best way to make sure those things are done well.

If you just tell your team what to do, they may not fully understand how to do it, or why. Context is always important.

If your staff don’t know their objectives, how can they work towards them?

If they don’t know what the team’s overall priorities are, how can they make decisions to effectively manage their own time?

So how can you make sure that you communicate clearly and effectively?

How to effectively communicate to your staff

Give them clear, specific objectives

When delegating a task, it’s not enough to simply assume your team will know what you want, how you want it, and when you want it by.

Many mistakes happen because junior members are given a task with little support or supervision, and try their best to complete it without truly knowing what it is they’re meant to be doing.

Explain what you want, how you want it and why, and when it needs to be completed to ensure that they can prioritise tasks and manage their time efficiently.

It’s a common pitfall for managers to assume the tasks they’ve asked for will be priority number one, but it isn’t always the case. If team members don’t know the stakes involved, or the timescales others are working to, they may focus on the wrong task.

Prioritisation can only happen when everyone knows what the overall goal is. Ensure everyone is on the same page about where they’re going, and how they’re supposed to get there.

You can help keep everyone on track with regular check-ins.

Check in with them regularly

Whether it’s with a quick email, a check-in, or a regular meeting, teams who spend more time interacting with their managers are more likely to hit targets and deliver high-quality work than those who don’t.

Check-ins like this give your team the time to make themselves heard, raise concerns, or flag potential issues.

This is doubly important when it comes to supporting remote workers, as they may feel cut off from the rest of the team. Showing them you have time for them shows them they are valued, no matter where they are.

Look for gaps in communication

If you have a hybrid or remote team, how do you ensure everyone is working with the same information?

If someone misses a meeting, how are they caught up with what was said?

Having a process for documenting, recording, and sharing missed information so it is accessible to all employees is a good way to ensure communication reaches everyone who needs to hear it.

3 questions to ask yourself that can help your team succeed

Do they understand the objectives and my expectations?

You might think you’ve communicated everything your team needs to succeed. But have you explained yourself fully, or just demanded a certain outcome?

A good way of testing this is by asking open-ended questions.

‘When do you think you will have that ready by?’ encourages a conversation, instead of a simple yes or no.

This lets you hear what your team is thinking, and gives them a chance to engage with you, instead of dashing off to complete their next task.

Have I done all I can to help them and remove any roadblocks?

Communication isn’t just about making yourself heard, it’s about hearing what those around you have to say.

Make sure to give your team the space to talk to you about any potential roadblocks before they become a problem.

Have they been given all necessary support and training?

Sometimes even though you’ve communicated everything clearly, your staff won’t have had the full training they need to handle tasks with confidence.

If someone on your team needs extra help or training, make yourself available to hear them.

No matter whether you’re the leader of a small team, or the CEO, giving your team high-quality information and support will always help them feel more calm, capable, and confident, and will make everyone more likely to succeed and thrive at work.

If you want to learn how you and your team can communicate better, read about our communication workshop, or read the rest of our blog posts on how to support your staff as they return to work.

Posted on: 16th November 2021