Are Your Leaders and Managers Poor Communicators?
3 Reasons Why Remote Communication Fails
One of the biggest hurdles that leaders and managers have to overcome while working remotely or having remote staff is the communication barrier.
Communication can already be challenging for many people face-to-face, and this struggle is only worsened when you take away the luxuries of face-to-face communication, like being able to read body language, that most leaders and managers were used to, pre-pandemic.
In today’s article, we reveal 3 of the top reasons why remote communication fails and what you can do to prevent your leaders and managers from going down the same path.
Reason 1: Platform
Firstly, choosing the correct communication platform is crucial. There are many different platforms and forms of remote communication, each of which have pros and cons, including:
Pros: People are familiar with email and it’s simple to use.
Cons: Emails can be hard to organise and keep track of, and important messages can get lost among spam.
Pros: Lots of people already use Whatsapp, and it can be easily accessed from a phone, laptop, tablet, or computer.
Cons: It isn’t designed for sending files, and it can be hard to find previous messages if you need to refer to them in the future.
- Video Calls
Pros: Calls are instantaneous, and they’re more personal than an email or text.
Cons: If people can’t attend a video meeting, how do they catch up? There is no paper trail.
Pros: Slack handles everything in one place - calls, messaging, sending files.
Cons: Some people may not have used Slack before so will need to get accustomed to it.
Whilst choosing the right platform is crucial, what’s even more important is making sure that all of your leaders and managers use the same platform and communicate in the same way.
Reason 2: Process
Without a communication process, teams can very easily become disorganised, chaotic, and fragmented. This can lead to important messages being missed, training or meeting attendance plummeting, and an overall lack of direction for staff.
Having a standardised, company-wide way of communicating is especially vital for cross-departmental projects. For example, if the Marketing department used Slack to communicate but the Sales department used WhatsApp and the two departments wanted to work on a customer-engagement campaign together, one of the departments would have to compromise and use a different communication channel than they’re used to. This can lead to conflict, disengagement with the project, and generally much less efficient collaboration.
Communication processes not only determine how teams communicate, they also define when teams typically communicate. For example, at Nine Dots we have a morning meeting every day to discuss what happened the day before, and our plans for the day. Implementing daily morning meetings company-wide means that if somebody needs to communicate a message to another department, they know that that message will be passed on in the morning meeting the following day.
Whilst it can be challenging to implement a standardised communication process across the whole company, here are a few steps you can take to get started:
- Start with Your Team
The best place to start is talking to all of your leaders and managers individually to find out how and when they currently tend to communicate with their teams.
- Create a Plan
Based on what you find out from your leaders and managers, create a communication plan and implement it in your team. For example, teams should communicate via slack and leaders and managers should check in with their teams at 9am, at midday, and 15 minutes before the end of the day.
- Talk to the People Who Have Influence
Once you have a plan together, speak to and gain buy-in from the people who have influence over implementing company wide processes e.g. directors.
Reason 3: People
Some leaders and managers are naturally better at communication than others so not only do you need to think about the communication platform and process, but also the people.
Often, HR professionals or leaders of leaders may not realise what their staff are struggling with, so here at Nine Dots we prioritise talking to our learners and finding out what challenges they are facing at work to make sure that the information we give you in our articles is as accurate and relevant, as possible, highlighting real-life leadership and management problems.
Some of your leaders and managers may have struggled with communication pre-pandemic but only a little bit so it was never noticed, but now they may be struggling even more as a lot of communication has gone from face-to-face to virtual. If this switch has highlighted their communication skills gap to you, it’s crucial to plug that gap through training.
However, we understand that approaching a leader, especially if they are more senior and experienced, about their communication skills gap can be intimidating. At Nine Dots, we are very conscious of how our training courses come across to participants, so we work closely with our clients to make sure that the titles of all of our courses and workshops are inspiring.
Looking for Communication Training for Your Leaders and Managers?
Communication is a vital skill, whether working from home or in the workplace, so it’s crucial that leaders and managers have professional, formal communication training.
If you are looking for communication training for your leaders and managers, you can click here to explore our ‘Taking Your Communication Skills to the Next Level’ training programme.
This programme covers all of the core aspects of communication, including:
- Managing remote teams
- Being assertive and handling difficult conversations
- Communicating effectively to get the best from their team
Until next time...