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Are Your Communication Habits Destroying Employee Morale?

5 ways that poor communication skills can damage employee motivation

Employee morale dictates many of the factors that identify your organization as an employer, such as employee engagement, productivity, customer interaction, and achievement of objectives. While opportunities for self-development, reward and remuneration, the nature of work, and the level of autonomy are all well-recognized elements that impact employee morale, one of the most impactful but least recognized ways to boost employee morale is by effective communication.

The poor communication skills that damage employee morale

Poor communication skills manifest themselves as habitual behaviors, and when leaders communicate ineffectively, morale can slide. If not corrected, ineffective communication can destroy innovation, creativity and productivity, as well as lead to an increase in staff turnover. Here are five ways in which a leader’s communication habits may be harming employee morale, and how to boost employee morale by correcting these bad communication habits.

Lack of transparency

If you hide information from one set of employees, or only provide half a story, you will foster an environment of mistrust.

To eliminate this habit, be more open with your team and always invite employees to ask questions and voice concerns. Answer those questions honestly and be genuine with your response. Share information and create collective goals from the big picture of your organization’s objectives.

Communicating with negativity

Even if you are cynical by nature, excessive negativity can wear down even the most optimistic team. If every issue becomes a problem, the will to find solutions and forge forward can quickly dissipate.

Especially when the going is tough, it is important that you remain positive and communicate resilience to your team. Use inspirational messages to motivate, and thus encourage collaboration to produce a plan with which the whole team is engaged.

Inconsistency of communication approach

An inconsistent approach to communication leaves employees on edge and confused. If you communicate important messages by email one day, and then by SMS the next, your people will not know what to expect. The ways in which you communicate include:

  • Communication channels
  • Style and tone
  • Timing

Build consistency in your approach to communicating with your employees so they know what to expect. Decide on your channels of communication and use them habitually. Make it a personal policy to communicate a team message at the same time and in the same way each day.

Providing poor feedback

There are two ways in which you may provide poor feedback. The first is by not providing feedback. The second is by not providing specific feedback. When employees receive poor feedback, they have no way of knowing how well they are performing or how they can improve. This only leads to a worsening situation.

Be precise with feedback and provide it regularly. Quality feedback is honest, whether positive or negative. Positive feedback can reinforce value and motivate an employee to push even harder.

However, negative feedback must be given sympathetically and objectively: even though you are feeding back to a person, by avoiding making the feedback personal you enable the employee to focus on the improvement needed. Given specific feedback, the employee has a solid foundation on which to develop skills.

Communicating without clarity

Without clarity, important messages become lost in translation. This leads to confusion, the need for further explanation, time-wasting, frustration, and falling morale.

Clarity is a leadership tool. Speaking with clarity and using audience appropriate language eliminates ambiguity of positioning and objectives. It ensures that the message intended is the message received, and empowers employees to prioritize personal objectives and tasks.

Are you a good communicator?

If your team seems jaded or lacking ambition, it could be that your communication skills are letting you (and your team) down. You may have the vision, but if your communication of that vision is ineffective then morale is likely to suffer.

The good news is that effective communication is a learned skill. If you recognize that you have a shortfall in communication skills, then contact Forward Focus today. We’ll help you develop your communication and interpersonal skills to help you achieve your leadership potential.

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