In business, you don’t ask, “what’s the shortest distance between two points?”. Rather, you ask, “what is the most effective path toward success?” Business success can be defined in multiple ways, but what good is success if it comes at the expense of the employees who give their hard work every day and night? For Jason Greer, Founder and President of Greer Consulting, Inc. (GCI), a Labor Management and Employee Relations Consulting firm, strained communication between management and employees can derail an organization. He offers four tips to resolve these communication breakdowns.
Value and evaluate employee concerns
It is vitally important for leaders to create safe spaces for employees to share their issues and concerns. Your employees will need to bring their grievances to you sooner or later. At that moment, your job is to listen so you can get to the core problem. Doing so will allow you to handle the situation effectively, making the employees feel that their grievances are heard and properly addressed. Doing otherwise will leave you vulnerable to the perception that you do not care, which may impact the employees’ willingness to come to you in the future.
Know your people for what they do and who they are
Jason is known as “The Employee Whisperer” because he has spoken to thousands of employees over the course of his career. Jason truly believes that people will work for money but die for respect and recognition. This is why it is so important for leaders to observe, empower and advocate for their employees daily. Let your employees know that they are doing a good job and that you honor their commitment. Employees who trust their leaders are willing to be open and accept constructive feedback when it is necessary. The key is to be present with them at all times.
Know your biases and learn to overcome them
Remember this…leaders are human. They have their strengths and weaknesses, just like everyone else. If you find that your biases are getting in the way of your ability to function properly with your employees, Jason suggests that you should “observe and understand them deeply. Know where their roots lie and who might have planted them. Biases of such nature tend to be more destructive than constructive. And therefore, in the larger interest of growth and success, you’ll need to overcome them. It’ll be like taking back control of your brain and untethering a mind that values content over color.”
Abandon the ivory tower
Get out on the floor and talk to your employees. Be a touchable champion and allow them to get to know you. Let the employees know that they can come to you because you have taken the time to be a “person of the people” through your willingness to engage with them.