With an increasing emphasis on speed and immersion in technology in the quick oil and quick lube world, it’s sometimes easy to let communication between managers and teams fall by the wayside.
Dana Borowka, co-founder and CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, says that even though it may happen unintentionally, letting that line of open, clear and constant interaction can lead to dysfunction in the workplace and overall lower morale.
“Clear communication is vital,” he says. “People not getting along, having communication conflicts is not healthy for an organization. If you don’t have the trust and people are fighting all the time, it’s going to hurt production and the bottom line sooner or later.”
Borokwa shares some examples he sees work with companies for which he consults and tips that can help improve communication between you and your team.
As told to Noah Brown
Establishing Open Communication
Above all, having an open line of clear communication between—both from coworker to coworker and from boss to employee—is the most effective way to maximize the productivity and morale of a team.
Instead of focusing on the big picture right away, start small. If conflicts are common, or even if an employee is just having a rough and unproductive day, first try to understand why.
Use empathy, see where people are coming from. There’s usually a reason why someone starts up with someone else. They usually don’t just do it for the heck of it. Try to get to know your people the best you can, and keep communication open.
Getting to know your employees as people and as team members makes them feel more valued, which in turn will help them feel more comfortable being upfront about potential problems that might arise in the workplace.
Building a Better Team
Just as important as making sure your current employees are working toward building a more team-focused environment is hiring new people who will also buy into that mantra.
Technical skills are easy to find out. It’s the non-verbal skills, the soft skills, that are so important. Understanding how your team members work—both individually and as a unit—can help inform who might fit well and who might have a tougher time connecting during the onboarding process.
Employers can, and should, lean on their employees throughout the hiring process. They can provide invaluable insight to team dynamics and what they want to get out of a future coworker.
They don’t need to be actively involved throughout the entire process, but genuinely asking for and considering feedback from employees about workplace dynamics and what they are hopeful for can be a fairly simple yet very effective first step.
Ask current and past employees, “What are a couple characteristics of the ideal person you work with? What are some of the ones you’d prefer not to?” Some of those answers can be very revealing.
Overall, open communication and honestly seeking feedback on places to improve from your employees and coworkers is the most effective way to improve workplace productivity and morale. How do you get the best out of the person from day one? Know your staff, ask for suggestions.