Communication is simple – but not easy.

We all know what it is and we all know how to do it, but we’ve all seen it go wrong and lead to misunderstandings, mistakes and mistrust – making managing people much more difficult.

Have you ever had a miscommunication with someone or experienced frustration because of lack of communication from someone? Have you ever given instructions that have not been followed in the way you wanted? Of course you have! If we’re honest, we’ve often been the cause of the miscommunication ourselves by not listening or not explaining what we mean clearly enough.

When we are busy and intent on what we have to do, it’s easy to forget that good communication is an essential foundation for a positive working environment and effective management.

Effective communication – which means listening and getting on other peoples’ wavelengths as well as speaking and writing clearly – will lead to trust, loyalty and productivity. It defines our management style and demonstrates our commitment to the team. It comes across in our body language and in our tone of voice. That’s why it’s so important to get it right and to have a genuine desire to communicate with those around us. Often it’s a matter of prioritising communication so that we remember to do it rather than learning theories and techniques – although these can certainly help.

It used to be that many managers had a ‘knowledge is power’ approach – ‘if I know more than you,that makes me more important’ – but current thinking is that the more open we are with information and the more receptive we are to other peoples’ ideas, the more we will encourage creativity and initiative in our workplaces. The more we communicate why change is necessary and involve the team in how it could be implemented, the more likely it is that the change will take place smoothly and without too much disruption.