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Career Development Tips

Key Communication Skills for Managers

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 30, 2021

Guide Overview

Why are communication skills for managers important?Essential communication skills for managersHow to build managerial communication skillsTips for implementing managerial communication skillsHow to highlight managerial communication skills

Guide Overview

An overview of communication skills for managers

Communicating effectively is a proficiency that all great managers share. Written, nonverbal, and verbal communication skills enable managers to win the respect of their subordinates and superiors, achieve positive project outcomes, and inspire employee engagement. If you're wondering how to improve your skills in this area, begin by learning about the various abilities managerial professionals need to exchange information competently. To learn more about the essential communication skills for managers, review this article. 

Why are communication skills for managers important?

Communication skills for managers are important because these abilities make the smooth exchange of information possible. To handle a team competently, exchanging information is essential. This is why communication, which is the process of doing so, is one of the most important job duties of a manager. For example, to manage a team successfully, a manager must inform their team of objectives, assign workers tasks to achieve these targets, track task progress, identify issues in performance and logistics, make any necessary changes to support the activities of workers, and keep everyone motivated and engaged.

To competently perform these duties, which are included in the job demands of a majority of managers, communication skills are essential. By boosting these abilities, a manager or an aspiring manager can gain several benefits:

  • Achieving productivity improvements. Companies are always looking for ways to accelerate their productivity. Engaged employees have been found to fuel increases in productivity. In an organization, a superior’s inability to exchange information competently is likely to reduce the motivation of workers and make them less committed to their occupation. In contrast, a boss with stellar communication skills is likely to inspire workers to be more invested in the workplace. Consequently, you can achieve an increase in productivity fueled by a boost in employee engagement by developing your communication abilities.
  • Improving the company culture. An organization’s culture is comprised of the behaviors of its people, which should reflect the company’s values. Consequently, company culture plays a key role in the experience of workers, influencing their happiness, satisfaction, motivation, and engagement. The way in which you communicate at work is a key factor in your firm’s culture. By improving your communication skills, you can improve your organizational culture. This will improve the working experience of your employees.
  • Avoiding miscommunication with subordinates. Often, obtuse directions given by managers cause workers to develop a lack of interest in their jobs, which reduces their motivation. By ramping up your communication skills, you can increase the effectiveness of your communications and avoid demotivating workers.
  • Saving the employer’s money. Unprofessional or ineffective communications made by a manager can cost an organization money in several ways. For example, if you make unprofessional comments in your managerial capacity, you expose your company to legal liability. This can cost your employer money in legal fees or even damages. Miscommunication can waste the valuable resources of the organization, such as time, equipment, or labor. Additionally, managers who do not communicate effectively usually cause increases in turnover, which is another factor in increasing costs. Consequently, improving your managerial abilities in communication will save your employer money in the long-term.

Essential communication skills for managers

There are many interdependent abilities that comprise communication skills, which are a type of interpersonal skills. Every professional in a managerial position should possess the following communication-based skill set:

  • Empathy: Empathizing with each recipient of your communication, which involves trying to assess what you’re saying from their perspective, helps you to spot instances of unprofessionalism, miscommunication, or obtuseness in information exchanges and correct them.
  • Active listening: This skill involves the ability to listen to what another person says, understand it, and communicate your interest in it. An active listener tends to have more productive conversations than others because they better engage the people with whom they communicate.
  • Discipline: Discipline is a key communication skill because it enables you to express yourself well without getting distracted by unimportant things.
  • Accuracy: In communication, being accurate is important because it builds understanding and trust in your audience.
  • Nonverbal communication: Nonverbal communication, which involves the information you convey with your posture, facial expressions, and other types of body language, should support your verbal and written ideas instead of opposing them.
  • Verbal communication: This skill, which relates to exchanging information verbally, is used by managers frequently during both informal and formal communications.
  • Written communication: With the increasing contribution of remote workers and the use of new technologies, managers are using more written communication, which can include emails, texts, or chats.

How to build managerial communication skills

If you’re interested in gaining or improving your managerial communication skills, use these steps to do so:

1. Identify the necessary skills

Learn about communication skills for managers. You can use online career guidance resources like this article, reach out to managers in your industry through informational interviews, or talk to a mentor with management expertise to find out what skills are recommended for your position. Make a list of key skills.

2. Assess your communication skill set

Identify your communication skills with the following activities:

  • Review your work experience.
  • Identify your communication skills.
  • Consider your social communication.
  • Identify any managerial communication skills you may have overlooked.
  • Make a list of your communication abilities.
  • Separate your strengths from the abilities that need improvement.

3. Identify skill gaps

Compare the list of communication skills for managers with your skills. Make a final list that includes:

  • Communication skills that are your strengths
  • Communication skills you want to improve
  • Communication skills you need to gain

4. Develop your skills

Use the following tips to develop your managerial communication skills:

  • Set objectives for developing communication skills. Use the SMART approach to develop objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
  • Formulate a strategy for developing each skill. Develop strategies to achieve your objectives. Make sure each suits your circumstances.
  • Implement your strategies. Ask a trusted friend or mentor for advice on each skill-building strategy. Make any necessary changes based on feedback.
  • Evaluate your progress. Check your progress toward building your managerial communication skills each month. Make any necessary changes to your strategies so that you remain on track to reach your targets.

Tips for implementing managerial communication skills

Use the following advice to implement your communication skills in the workplace:

Value employee feedback

Tell your team members that their feedback on your communication is necessary. Show them that you value their feedback by taking these steps:

  • Ask questions that motivate them to share their feedback.
  • Consider their input, and reevaluate your communications.
  • Use employee feedback when it’s appropriate to do so.
  • Inform workers when you use their feedback to make changes in your communication.
  • Inform workers when you cannot use their feedback. Explain why you cannot do so.

Involving your employees in your communication can make them feel more involved in the process of information exchange and valued. This is likely to improve their response to your communication and their engagement.

Tailor each communication to its recipient

Use what you know about the people you’re communicating with to personalize important communications. For example, choose communication channels that suit your workers.

Inform recipients about the context of your communication

Tell your subordinates why something should be done and why their contribution is important. By doing so, you justify your key communications. Employees who understand where they fit within a task, project, or organization are likely to respond well to managerial communications.

Make sure subordinates understand your communication

You can use the following advice to check worker understanding:

  • Enable multiple touchpoints. Give team members several methods to reach out to you. After making an important communication, use active listening and empathy to find out if each worker understands it.
  • Repeat everything you say several times. Usually, people need to be informed about something new several times before they internalize it.
  • Ask the right questions. Check whether your audience understood the communication. For example, you can ask, “Based on what we talked about, what are the main challenges?”

How to highlight managerial communication skills

When applying for a job at a new company or when pursuing an internal promotion, there is a process you can use to highlight your managerial-level communication skills. You can use it to showcase your abilities in your cover letter, resume, and interview performance. Use the following steps:

  1. Discover key communication skills for managers. Use your research skills to find out about managerial communication abilities.
  2. Identify your managerial communication skills. Assess yourself, review your work history, and list your skills in this area.
  3. Review your communication materials. Reread your job application materials, including your interview preparation content. Assess what your application, resume, and cover letter reveal about your communication skills.
  4. Improve how your communication skills are showcased. Improve how you showcase your communication skills in your cover letter, resume, and answers to standard interview questions. For example, you can use only experienced-based skill examples with supporting metrics in your job application materials.

There are specific communication skills for managers that can be learned, implemented, and highlighted effectively. Use the knowledge you gained from this article to optimize your managerial communication in the future. Looking for a new job? Start here

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