When building a strong and successful team of employees, managers need to be explicitly clear in determining specific roles and establishing expectations. Workers can become confused or distraught if management neglects to outline defined strategies and initiatives, and operational errors may stem from ineffective communication from leadership. It is crucial that managers develop strategies to avoid these scenarios.
Firmly establish who, when, where and how
Harvard Business Review's Anna Ranieri wrote that leaders need to spell out the details when delegating a task or project to an employee. Managers cannot assume that workers will automatically understand what – and how – they are supposed to accomplish a certain goal or duty, Ranieri said, so expectations needs to be clearly defined and outlined before the project is begun.
First, she recommended establishing the big picture – why is this employee being asked to perform this task? What is it intended to achieve? Once the parameters of the project have been determined, managers should clarify which employees are being assigned to specific aspects of the project and when the whole thing needs to be completed, Ranieri advised. Creating a well-defined action plan can help eliminate miscommunication and alleviate confusion among employees.
Ranieri also noted that leaders should attempt to strike down the notion of the "dumb question." Employees are – generally speaking, anyway – not mind-readers, and they might misunderstand the message, rendering them unclear of the details. By encouraging and being receptive to all sorts of questioning, managers can create an environment that is more open and welcoming, and allows workers to achieve more comprehensive understandings of assigned duties.
Be positive! Workers do not respond well to negativity
Investor's Business Daily contributor Michel Mink spoke with workplace communication expert John Michel,who learned about positive leadership firsthand as an Air Force brigadier general. Michel argued that word choice is everything – using constructive dialogue can lead to better results in the workplace, while negative mannerisms can be harmful to employees' psyches.
Michel also pointed out the importance of being attentive as a manager. By asking simple questions regarding a worker's personal life or about his or her progress in the office, he said that leaders can establish that they view their employees as priorities, rather than subordinates.
Mink also interviewed leadership expert Marlene Chism, who highly suggested becoming well-versed in various different methods of communication to best become prepared to diffuse or enhance any scenario that might occur, whether it be good or bad. Nonverbal communication is particularly important, according to Chism. Demonstrating positive body language can make a big impact on the morale of the workforce, as leaders often contribute heavily to the vibe in an office.
Michel had one last recommendation to managers: Treat all employees with fairness and respect, and develop both reward and disciplinary initiatives to correlate with workplace behaviors.
Leadership is not an easy task. Overseeing an entire staff of people has a large number of inherent challenges, and sometimes, it can be overwhelming. To become well-equipped to deal with whatever the hectic office throws at them on a daily basis, managers should enroll in a course or seminar that teaches strong, positive leadership qualities.