Clarity and Responsibility are Essential for a Healthy Workplace
Responsibility is a scary concept both inside and out of the workplace. It’s much easier to place the blame on someone else rather than yourself, but that’s rarely the correct or most effective mentality. You must communicate clearly and take personal responsibility for the results when dealing with employees, contractors or customers.
Whether you are a parent, sports team coach or a member of company management, there will be situations when you don’t get the results you want from your family or team members. It’s natural to feel frustrated or even upset when this happens, but don’t let negative feelings detract from your ability to rationally examine your own mistakes that led to this outcome.
The Power of Clear Communications
As the person making the request, it is the manager’s responsibility to clearly outline their expectations as well as preferred method for reaching the goal. Your employees don’t possess telepathic powers, so you can’t expect them to deliver results unless you tell them exactly what you want. If you expect something specific, then you must give your workers clear and detailed instructions.
Like any other interaction between people, business communications are a two-way street. Employees should ask questions when they don’t completely understand the expectations, or if they aren’t sure how to proceed with a project. Rather than silently resenting the request, they should feel comfortable talking to management about requests that seem unfair or impossible.
Do You Feel Intimidated When Talking To Employees? You Are Not Alone!
The ability to communicate with confidence may seem like a natural gift that some lucky individuals just have. However, many business leaders actually struggle with the prospect of confrontation and would rather avoid difficult conversations. In a recent Harris Poll that surveyed 616 managers, 69 percent reported feeling uncomfortable when communicating with employees in general.
Of course, there are many specific types of communication that business leaders find unsettling as well. According to the survey, giving criticism or honest feedback about a worker’s performance makes 1 in 3 managers uneasy. Additionally, 20 percent of those surveyed reported feeling uncomfortable when discussing their own shortcomings, recognizing achievements of employees and explaining company policy or goals.
While it is clear that many people view communication in the workplace as a daunting challenge, it is a hurdle that every business leader must overcome. Fortunately, there are a few simple guidelines that can make the process much less intimidating:
- Speak honestly and directly: Don’t beat around the bush, especially when giving critical feedback. Employees appreciate honesty and plain language. Think about what you are going to say before you begin the conversation, so you can deliver the message as clearly as possible.
- Be empathetic, but not pandering: Before communicating with an employee, stop and evaluate your emotional state. If you are agitated, angry or frustrated, it may be better to wait before having the talk. Think about how your words will make the employee feel, and let them know that you understand their feelings.
- Let them talk: Communication is a two-way street, so make sure you give the other person a chance to respond and explain themselves. Even if you want to run out of the room as soon as possible after delivering criticism or bad news, you must resist this temptation. Give everyone a chance to speak their minds, so all parties can walk away with a sense of closure.
- Lead by example: Before delivering a message to your employees, ask yourself if your actions and performance holds up to it. Giving feedback or enforcing company policy without accepting the same responsibility upon yourself is a surefire way to generate resentment and insubordination in the workplace. Give your employees a chance to give you feedback as well and take the opportunity to improve yourself.
Who is Responsible, Manager or Employee?
Taking responsibility for all of your business interactions may seem like a heavy load, but it ultimately gives you more control over the future of your company. As a manager, you must take charge of the circumstances rather than fall victim to them. It’s your job to make sure that your team knows what to do and how to do it.
Of course, employees also share responsibility for their performance in the workplace. Managers should not need to repeat the same instructions or remind workers of the rules every single day. As a professional, you should respect the office decorum as well as the authority of management. If your team has a meeting every Monday morning, it is your responsibility to be on time and ready to go every week.