If you’re getting the sense that your employees secretly hate you and you’re wondering why, it could be your communication style.
According to a recent poll of about 1,000 US workers by Harris and Interact, a communications consultancy, 91% say communication issues can hurt their relationship with their boss.
The employees surveyed voted on the top nine communication issues that bug them about their managers. We spoke with Lou Solomon, CEO of Interact, about why these behaviours are so irksome and how managers can tweak their leadership style to be more effective.
Here’s the list of troublesome leadership behaviours, in reverse order.
9. Not asking about employees' lives outside of work
Twenty-three per cent of employees surveyed said this was a problem for them.
To illustrate how problematic this issue can be, Solomon referred to one of her clients, whose boss suggested he attend a certain professional conference. What the boss didn't realise was that his employee was in fact one of the conference organisers. That experience is an example of leaders who only make half-hearted attempts to connect with their employees, Solomon said.
Of course, managers don't have to know absolutely everything about their employees' lives outside of work -- but key points like the birth of children, the loss of loved ones, and certainly professional roles like being a conference organiser are important to note.
Solomon said employees might think about the situation this way: 'The fact that you (the boss) only care about my contribution at work and are oblivious to the other parts of my life -- that stands out to me as a workplace that I don't want to be a part of.'
8. Refusing to talk to people on the phone or in person.
Thirty-four percent of employees surveyed said this was a problem for them.
With the advent of digital technologies from email to Slack, it's becoming increasingly possible to avoid in-person interaction entirely.
Yet Solomon strongly advised against this practice. 'Face-to-face communication is still the most persuasive, influential medium that there is,' she said.
Leaders can make themselves visible by periodically showing up at meetings or on phone calls — or even by making the rounds at company-wide social functions. That way, they'll appear more approachable and trustworthy.
'You can communicate electronically to exchange information and sustain a dialogue,' Solomon said, 'but you cannot build trust electronically.'
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