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Maintaining Communication

Woman waving while telecommuting

Communication Series: Part 1

Management Topic: Maintaining Communication

COVID-19 has caused many changes to the way our teams communicate and operate, largely due to changes in staff’s location. Many managers were suddenly asked to manage fully remote team members or hybrid teams. These sudden changes brought the many benefits of telecommuting but also presented new challenges, especially in the way managers communicate with their staff and teammates communicate with one another.

Communication Between Supervisors and Employees

Communication, connection and engagement with employees remain some of the biggest challenges faced by managers and supervisors and this is especially true for those with remote or hybrid workforces. Implementing regular check-ins with employees provides managers the opportunity to learn more about how their team members think and work, an opportunity to provide clarity about duties and responsibilities, and a chance to set expectations and answer questions. It is also a great time for managers and supervisors to have a genuine check-in with team members and hear about their current state. Without regular communication, managers run the risk of missing signs of burn out or other issues team members may be experiencing. Taking the time to ask team members about their feelings of engagement, motivation and morale reaffirms to team members that despite these uncertain times, they have not gone unnoticed.

To build strong, open lines of communication, it is important management create a safe and supportive place for employees to share. Do not underestimate the importance of small talk in getting to know your employee. In addition, utilize active listening skills, minimize interruptions, take notes, practice your emotional intelligence skills in your responses, and ask follow up questions.

Open communication can also go a long way in motivating employees, and can help lead to ownership of tasks and accountability. This communication is also essential for brainstorming and problem-solving. Team members bring different perspectives and solutions to issues within a department and their insight can be invaluable. Check-ins are an opportunity for staff to share their ideas and gather honest feedback from management.

Finally, the constant changes that occurred the past year have made professional development, coaching and mentoring difficult to prioritize for some. Remember to check in with employees on these topics and reaffirm your commitment to their growth.

Communication Between Team Members

The ability to work together towards a common goal separates good teams from great ones. It is management’s responsibility to ensure that team dynamics remain strong, communication remains open, and teams progress towards the same goal in a timely manner. It is also important that teams have an open forum that provides psychological safety where team members have the opportunity to express their opinions and ideas without fear of criticism. This forum provides a space for communication that is essential in supporting knowledge sharing, socialization, and camaraderie. This also helps in mitigating feelings of isolation.

Stay tuned for next month’s tips on technology tools to help maintain communication!

Workstations connected by a line

Helpful Tools to Learn More About This Topic:

Scenario for Discussion:

You have been very busy since the start of the pandemic, taking on additional tasks and trying to remain flexible with ever-changing needs. As a result, you have not had the opportunity to check in with your team as often as you would like. One of your team members has been noticeably more quiet than usual and no longer volunteers their ideas in staff meetings.

  1. You have observed these changes in one of your team members. What are some next steps you should consider?
  2. What resources can you share with this team member who may be going through a difficult time?

Recommendations for how to address March’s Scenario can be found here.

Interested in reviewing prior months’ topics? Visit our website.

Stay Safe!

Leadership 2029

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