Communication Challenges for Managers

Mintzberg estimated that managers spend between 50 – 90% of their time talking to people.  So being an effective communicator is an important part of making your life as a manager a little easier.

There are many rather complicated theories about communication none of which really offer the practising manager much practical advice about being effective as a communicator.  The headline is that there are a lot of blocks to your messages being received in the way that you intend: trust levels, climate, prejudices, perceptions, fears, hopes, context, history and so on.  What is a pragmatic approach?

Here are some thoughts (hopefully of a practical nature):

  1. Honesty at all times.
  2. Sincerity – most people are very adept at picking up sincerity and its opposite.
  3. Be consistent.
  4. Spend as much time listening as you do talking.
  5. Try communicating a mixture of ideas, beliefs, things that impact people and facts – too much of one and not enough of the others will limit your impact and reach.
  6. Be positive.
  7. Find out about what really interests people and make your communication relevant to them.
  8. Communicate upwards, downwards and side ways.
  9. Share what you know.
  10. Use the grapevine to your advantage.
  11. Identify opinion leaders and formers and use them to get messages across.
  12. Don’t leave people in the dark.

Poor communication is one of the top complaints made about managers.  The more effective you are in this area the easier your life will be.

I raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK – a small donation at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/everyonedeservesgoodmanagement would be most appreciated.

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