Use these strategies and best practices to create a collaborative work environment.
1. Avoid negative language and double down on positivity
What and how you communicate can have a great impact on how your employees feel. Steer clear of negative metaphors that emphasise the win or lose mentality. Instead use phrases that focus on unity, teamwork, and fun. Your communication needs to make your employees feel confident and inspired, so your language needs to reflect that positivity as well.
2. Practice active listening
Make a conscious effort to not monopolise the conversation. Otherwise people will start to tune you out and the purpose of the conversation will be lost. Be precise and concise. More importantly, communication is a two-way street. You need to actively pay attention to what the other person is saying. This makes them feel you value them and their contribution. As a leader it’s important to keep an open mind to new ideas and encourage healthy debates and transparency so as to be a champion of knowledge sharing.
3. Respond rather than react
When we react it comes across as a defensive act, putting us at a disadvantage. We let our emotions dictate our behaviour and lose control of the situation. This is definitely not how you want to handle a situation. Responding on the other hand requires one to be more thoughtful, employing reasoning and logic to address the situation. To do this you need to be grounded; use your breathing to centre yourself, and be mindful about what is actually being said, not everything is a personal jibe. By responding you’re participating in a engaging conversation that helps you learn more and grow.
4. Focus on body language
You might be saying the right words, but if your body isn’t echoing the same then the listener is likely to lose faith in what you’re saying. Body language is a key component in effective communication and also dictates how people perceive you. To exude confidence and create a more authoritative impression use ‘power posing’. Stand up straight and place your hands behind your back. Don’t fold your hands in front, it signals disinterest. Show interest by leaning in, making eye contact with the person speaking, smiling, etc. When giving a presentation, walk towards the audience when making a point, and use hand gestures to drive home points. Read more body language tips here (https://bonnevie.news/5-powerful-body-language-tips/).
5. Be open to receiving and providing feedback
Feedback is an important part of the learning process and you need to learn how to take the good with the bad. Not everyone will agree with what you have to say and they might not sugarcoat it. Learn to accept the feedback and honestly analyse the situation to see if there’s any merit in what is being said. It’s also equally important to regularly give feedback on your employees’ performance, behaviour, goal orientation, etc. Ask follow up questions to clarify after a presentation. This feedback doesn’t always have to be positive. In fact constructive criticism is often necessary to spur growth and push people to perform better.
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