There is no doubt about it: Great companies foster high levels of communication. When team members understand what is expected of them and what’s going on in the company, you win.
Keep the communication from happening and you will find that fear soon sets in, which is quickly followed by gossip.
Why? Because when team members don’t have a clue what’s going on, they begin to panic—wondering if their jobs are in jeopardy or if the company is falling apart.
How can you keep it from happening? It’s simple … communicate!
And by communicate, I mean more than just asking how their day is going or what they did last weekend. It has to be intentional.
Here are five ways to start communicating better with your team.
- Key Results Areas (KRAs). It is vitally important for each team member to know what they are supposed to do each day. While job descriptions are great, we use KRAs to show specific tasks and responsibilities that are required. They define in detail what winning looks like in each position.
- Meetings. While meetings can sometimes have a bad rap, they are still one of the best ways to communicate with your team. You just have to make sure that you prepare for them ahead of time, set an agenda, stick to the agenda, and that the meetings are static.
In other words, if you don’t have a set time every week, the crisis of the day will move it around and keep you from communicating.
- Storytelling – People respond well to stories. It’s just how we’re wired. You need to become a great storyteller of how your company came to be and the victories it’s had along the way. This will inspire team members and give them hope in the midst of their battles.
- Weekly Reports. Everyone on the team needs to be turning in a weekly report of what they have accomplished toward their KRA. This is for both the writer and the reader. It allows both to see what the team member has done to win in the position.
The report also gives the team member the opportunity to add a high and a low of the week. You’ll be amazed at what they put down.
BUT … and it’s a big but, you must respond to the report. If they have a great high, go celebrate. If there’s a bad low, go lead. If you don’t, it’s just become paperwork.
- Annual Checkup. I don’t believe in annual reviews. Why? Because you should be spending enough time with your team that you already know how they are doing. Therefore, an annual checkup is a great way to go over the year and discuss how well they’ve done.
Rarely should this meeting include what they need to work on, unless they’re still really working on it. Reprimands should be done immediately when something is wrong. Don’t wait to discuss it in a checkup.
These are just a few things you can do to add to your current communication process. When done well, your team will feel more secure about their positions and, in turn, be considerably more productive.