‘Effective communication’ is not just a buzz phrase, it is one of the most important leadership traits and has a clear and critical impact on every organisation’s bottom line.
It’s been said that employees don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Whether true or not, it’s undeniable that leaders have a profound influence on employees. Leaders’ actions and attitudes have the power to drive employees to great success – or to drive them out of the door!
Engagement studies show that leaders and managers are accountable for 70% of employee motivation and happiness. Disengaged employees don’t understand how they fit into the culture, how managers view their performance, or where the company is headed. Three in four employees see effective communication as the number one leadership attribute. Yet, less than 30% feel like their leaders communicate efficiently.
70% of the business leaders, reporting not being happy with their employees’ work, feel they need to improve how they communicate with their employees in order to resolve performance issues and improve motivation. Of the group that was happy with their team’s performance, 70% of the managers attributed this to the effective communication.
Engagement was higher among employees who rated conversations with co-workers and managers as great or excellent. Employees who rated conversations with co-workers as bad had a particularly low level of employee engagement.
For many of us the biggest barrier to having high-quality conversations is that we’re afraid to share what we’re really thinking and feeling. We dance around the issues and don’t speak up when there is an opportunity to voice concerns. But a problem exists whether we talk about it or not.
Leaders need to provide opportunities to have meaningful and productive conversations which in turn encourage trust. Giving opportunity to safely share ideas, concerns or questions indicates that leaders truly care about their people. Additionally, when employees understand what is expected of them, feel their opinions matter, receive helpful feedback or recognition, and can talk about their career aspirations, they are more likely to be engaged.
Their words resonate more and have more meaning and, unfortunately, so does their silence. Best leaders excel in communication because they strongly value it - and that’s the critical step and the foundation of success.