Showing Commitment to Openness ...
Naturally, your employees will believe what they have experienced in their daily work activities at the office over any policy document. This means, as a manager, your actions must create an environment that clearly shows that your organisation values honesty and openness in communication. Adopting transparency in communication takes real commitment and purposeful efforts.
As a manager, there are some brilliant techniques and ways to show your commitment to openness in communication. This includes the following:
1. Acknowledging that the viewpoints of your employees are essential
The first and most crucial step in developing an honest and open communication culture is to admit through your actions that the ideas and views of your employees are as unique and as important as yours. Your employees will give you insights into what is going on within an organisation.
Their unique ideas from the perspective may throw you off as you, as a manager, sees things from a bird's eye view. For instance, in business organisations, your employees are at the front line of customer service, acting as the organisation's face.
This means they are always the first who notice customers' needs, demands, requirements, or necessary changes in the market that may be crucial for the organisation to do business. In this way, your front-liners are probably the most significant part of your strategy.
By disrespecting and giving little to no attention to such a critical communication source, you unconsciously let your employees think that their point of view is not essential. However, if you are an excellent listener to employees' viewpoints and opinions on issues, you will be promoting a culture of open communication, no matter how little.
2. Ask your employees for input
As a manager, the best way to acknowledge your employee's viewpoint is to ask for it. It would help if you made it a habit to invite and consider your employees' thoughts in different matters that will affect them personally and the organisation.
You need to explain the issue very clearly to your employees – frequently sitting and open discussions on ideas will give off the impression that you are willing to lend an eye to their beliefs, concerns or any questions they might have.
3. Listen to your employees reflectively
An essential part of acknowledging your employees' ideas and opinions is to show them that you have heard them. Whenever your employees bring any concern to you, it's best to take some time to reflect before replying to them.
An immediate answer maybe seems too quick, especially in issues that may require serious considerations. Rapidly throwing answers and opinions when listening to the employee's concern is usually not the right decision.
If you repeat and confirm your employee's problems, it will show that you understand and are interested in what the employee says. You can do this by using lines like:
"So, if I'm getting you correctly, you mean..."
"So, in essence, what you're saying is..."
"Considering that you said that... does it mean that..."
"By saying... Do you mean that ..."
Listening reflectively will help show your employees that you have not just heard the words, but you also understand their emotions. The choice of words also matters while listening.
Instead of saying "there's no cause for alarm", you can say, "I understand your concern". Instead of saying, "you need to calm down," you can say, "I can see how mad you are about this issue". Your choice of words shouldn't be disregarding.
Comments should make your employees know that you understand their pain or concern regarding the issue.
4. Engage your employees on a personal level
Personal engagement with your employee is an essential component of open communication. You don't necessarily have to know the names of all the employees working under you – although it would be nice and would give a more personal touch.
It would help if you gave off the impression that you are interested in them beyond their day-to-day routine in the organisation. Warm greetings and some welcoming comments can create a good relationship, trust, and openness between you and your employees. Some interest in their wellbeing is also an excellent way to build openness.
Talk to them about something as simple as what they did during the weekend. Ask them about their parents, how are their kids doing – show some interest in their life. With the help of this, the employees will feel more relaxed and willing to talk with you about their opinions or ideas on upcoming occasions.
5. Be respectful to your employees
If you disrespect your employees, it will result in distrust and disdain. Whenever your employees come to you with opinions or problems, make it obvious they have your undivided attention. It is better to stop what you were doing, sit up, look straight at them, and engage them in whatever they say.
Don't give your employees the impression of being disrespected. Usually, some managers are busy typing a document, checking an email or looking through files when an employee wants to voice their concern on some issue – try to avoid doing that when an employee comes to your doorstep with a problem.
In essence, you, as a manager, should not only promote openness in communication but let your actions speak for you. Suppose you are communicating transparently with your employees. It would be best to listen actively to what your employees say and show them that you understand where they are coming from.
In that case, you can be sure that your employees will be more productive rather than when you are shooting down any effort they make to communicate with you.