Introduction for meeting topic discussion:
As a great follow-up to Catherine Stapleton’s article last time, Carole Bates of PeopleKind shares her thoughts on keeping the engagement with your team members high by communicating effectively with them! She starts by outlining the 6 different types of communication your people are looking for (use these as a checklist to audit your own communication!) and then moves into the various ‘how’ bits of implementing an effective communication and feedback strategy and system for making it happen!
As you prepare for your 60-second intro this time, read the article and (IF you have a team you manage) share your insights around how your own communication with your team stacks up against the ‘best practices’ Carole outlines.
Effective communication with your teams can have a significant impact on keeping people engaged in their work and focussed on the right priorities to support the success of your business. Unfortunately, regular communication is not always prioritized amongst the many demands of running a business. This article highlights four key areas where effective communication with the people in your business is important and shares a simple communication framework to plan these communications, along with some tips on how to communicate successfully.
What kind of communication are employees looking for?
Survey questions that are typically used to measure employee satisfaction with communication include the following:
- The leaders at my company have communicated a vision that motivates me.
- The leaders at my company demonstrate that people are important to the company’s success.
- The leaders at my company keep me informed about what is happening.
- I know what I need to do to be successful in my role.
- My manager gives me useful feedback on how well I am performing.
- I receive appropriate recognition for my work.
(These specific questions have been taken from the Culture Amp survey: www.cultureamp.com).
People are looking for their leaders and managers to keep them in the loop about long-term company goals and how the business is performing. Individuals also want to understand how their work contributes to business success, get feedback on how they’re doing and be recognised and rewarded for their efforts. If these needs are not met, people can become disillusioned and demotivated and start thinking about moving on.
A system for effective communication
The table below can be used to create a communication framework for interacting with your teams. Think about how often you need to communicate in each of the four areas and the best way of exchanging information. Make these communications a firm commitment in your calendar so that communication with your people becomes a priority.
See blog for table here.
Tips for implementing a communication framework
To help you implement your communication framework, here are some tips about when and how to communicate.
Communication about business strategy can be a great opportunity to generate enthusiasm and excitement about the future. Share your long-term goals and give people regular updates on progress. It’s a great way to remind people they’re part of a successful business. Even if your business faces challenges along the way, keeping the team updated on how challenges are being addressed can boost morale. One of my clients has a quarterly business planning session with an adviser and he provides feedback from this meeting to his team. A monthly or quarterly team meeting would suit most businesses.
Regular communication about workflow really helps people to prioritize effectively and enables you to trouble-shoot any problems in a timely manner. Technology can be useful in supporting workflow management and there are a range of workflow management and collaboration tools available. The frequency of workflow meetings depends on the nature of the business and company culture. Some teams prefer a daily, 5 minute “stand-up” meeting, while others work well with a weekly or fortnightly catch up.
Feedback is essential to keep people engaged and to develop skills – ideally a mixture of on-the-job feedback and a more formal feedback process. When providing informal feedback, remember to try and catch people doing something right, rather than defaulting to a “no news is good news” approach where they only hear from you when things go wrong.
There are several options for implementing a formal feedback process, including using HR software systems or paper-based processes, applying a rating scale, etc. Whatever approach you take, the following steps will ensure that you have a meaningful and successful feedback meeting:
- Provide the opportunity for people to evaluate their own performance.
- If you see things differently, explain your point of view with specific, objective examples.
- Constructive criticism should be delivered in a neutral tone and with empathy.
- Accept that people sometimes take a while to process feedback – they may not fully accept the feedback until after the meeting.
- Train your managers if they feel uncomfortable with this process.
- Spend more time looking forward than looking back. Talk about development opportunities and career goals.
- Focus more on maximising people’s strengths than trying to fix their weaknesses.
- Document a development plan and follow it up on a regular basis.
Formal feedback meetings should be held at least annually, with a quarterly follow up of development plans.
Communicating effectively about strategy and workflow and providing feedback to your people will impact positively on engagement. Celebrating success is another way of boosting staff morale, by acknowledging achievements. Rewards can include anything from public recognition to bonuses.
If you’re serious about driving engagement, an engagement survey can be a great tool. If you decide to take this step, you need to be prepared to accept constructive criticism and take action to address problems. Surveys can have a negative impact on morale if not taken seriously by management. On the upside, research on employee engagement shows that positive engagement results in better staff retention, productivity, profitability, growth and customer service. It also strengthens your employer brand which can help to attract talent.
Investing time in regular communication with your people about your business and their work will pay off in terms of business results. Communication in each of the four areas above doesn’t need to be time-consuming or onerous. These days it’s easier than ever to get people together, even if they’re not in the same physical space
Carole Bates is the owner of PeopleKind Consulting – you can read more about how she helps her clients here: https://www.peoplekind.co.nz/
Next Meeting Topic
INTRODUCTION FOR NEXT MEETING TOPIC:
Whether you’re just starting out in business or you’ve been at it for a while, keeping a positive mindset can be a struggle at times.
This article, contributed by Cassandra Hogan, highlights some common obstacles that tend to come up at some point in the business journey – things like Imposter Syndrome, lack of confidence, fear of failure and worry – along with tips on how to overcome them. As you prepare for your 60-second introduction this time, read the full article and share with your group one tip YOU use to keep your outlook healthy OR one strategy Cassandra gives that you know you could use to help you become more effective.
Do you doubt yourself?
Do you find yourself thinking ‘Who am I to be doing what I’m doing’, ‘I’m not good enough’, or ‘there are so many people out there who are better at this than me…’
You may be experiencing imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is where you doubt your skills, accomplishments or talents and may feel fearful of being exposed as a “fraud” or essentially an “imposter” in your business.
Because it’s not well talked about, a lot of people don’t know that imposter syndrome is what they may be experiencing. Therefore, you may believe that what you’re thinking is true, and this can have detrimental effects on your business.
If you feel you are experiencing imposter syndrome, here are some tips to work through it:
1) Be aware of it. On the bad days where niggly thoughts are appearing, realise that they are only thoughts – they are not real. Separate the facts from your feelings.
2) Failure is a normal part of starting business. Develop healthy responses to your failures, use it as a steppingstone to pivot, learn and grow from your mistakes.
3) Write down the negative thoughts – are they limiting beliefs that you may need to work through and let go?
4) Be kind and gentle on yourself – look at your wins, your strengths and accomplishments and be proud of how far you have come.
5) Have a good support network where you can share your concerns.
6) Keep going! Many people experience negative thoughts and doubts in the business start-up process or at times when business is booming or not growing as you would like. Consistency is the game changer.
Fear of Failure
One of the main limiting beliefs people carry is the fear of failure. This is what stops A LOT of people going into business in the first place.
Fear is a healthy and important part of life. We grow from pushing through the fear and out of our comfort zone.
And failure is not as bad as you think. Failure shows you are pushing forward – you are putting yourself out there. It helps you to grow your business.
If you experience failure its normal to feel defeated for a bit but use the feedback that comes from the failure to change and pivot your business to what people want. Failure provides the best feedback for success!
If you are finding the fear crippling and it’s stopping you from pushing forward with your business here are some questions you can ask yourself to break it down:
1) What is the worst thing that could happen if you move forward?
2) If the worst thing happened, how would you deal with it? Put a plan in place.
3) On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worst thing that could ever happen and 1 being the least), rate your fear.
4) What is the best thing that could happen if you push through your fear?
5) How would you feel when this happens?
You’ll be able to see from your answers that even if the worst thing happened, you will be able to deal with it and you will be okay. And when you succeed, you’ll feel AMAZING, and your business will keep growing.
Overwhelming Thoughts – Postponing Worry
A common obstacle that business owners have is overthinking. There are so many things to think about when in business and especially if you are running it on your own – it can be hard to keep up, right?
However, it’s important to acknowledge that overthinking is not productive at the best of times… One of the most effective tools is an exercise called postponing worry. This is used for general worry but also in anxiety.
Allocate a dedicated time slot per day for 30 minutes. This is your ‘worry’ period. You can worry all you like in these 30 minutes.
If you find yourself worrying about something during the day, make a quick note of it and tell yourself I’ll worry about this in my allocated worry time. By doing this you’re acknowledging the concern and it allows you to know it will be dealt with, but it won’t stop you from being productive now.
Most of the time you may get to your worry period and the overthinking has subsided and the issue that you thought was huge a few hours ago has diminished.
Your Inner Critic
Are you aware of your inner critic?
Your inner critic is that little voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do something, or that its going to be too hard etc. Everyone has an inner critic and unfortunately in general the way we talk to ourselves is a lot harsher than how we would talk to a friend or someone else.
Becoming aware of your inner critic and the way you speak to yourself can be lifechanging.
Some people even like to label their inner critic to help distinguish that they are only thoughts and not real. It’s always easier to tell ‘Steve to shut up’ rather than yourself.
Awareness allows you to tap into parts of your belief system. Are you constantly telling yourself ‘I’m not enough’ or ‘everyone else could do this better’ for example? By jotting down your thoughts, you can work out if anything else needs to be worked through. It gives a good indication of your limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs can be debilitating at times but the good news is they can be changed and realigned to the you that you are now, not the one from 20 or 30 years ago.
The above tips will inadvertently help with general confidence but if you find your confidence is lacking and this is stopping you from pushing your business then here are some extra tips:
1) Think big but start small. You don’t need to have it all figured out today. Plan and aim to achieve three to four things per week. Once those things have been achieved – celebrate them! Be proud of yourself.
2) Be consistent. The most solid, secure businesses are not the ones who tried to do everything in one go, they are the ones that just started and slowly built and evolved their business with the use of their failures and client feedback.
3) Surround yourself with positive people who are backing you, support your ideas and what you are trying to achieve.
4) Step outside your comfort zone. While this can seem scary at first this is the ultimate area of growth. The thing that scares you the most is where you need to go and once it’s done and you realise it wasn’t that scary – guess what increases – CONFIDENCE.
5) Work with a life coach or business mentor. Someone who can keep you accountable and believe in you especially on those days where it can all seem too hard.
6) Use positive affirmations. Your thoughts are only thoughts, they are not real. If you find yourself with your inner critic (Steve) speaking negatively, turn that thought around and tell yourself you can do this. Positive affirmations are effective when incorporated into your everyday life and repeated often. Put them in your phone, write them on your mirror, put them in your diary or use post it notes around your office and home.
7) Look after yourself. When starting a business it’s easy to spend every hour on it as there is a lot to do. BUT if you don’t look after yourself with rest, sleep, exercise and eating well it can lead to burnout. By looking after yourself you support your health and wellbeing which leads to increased energy and confidence. The take on the world feeling.
Cassandra is a certified, professional mindset and business coach at Fontein Coaching. She helps women live their best life while running their own business. Check out here website HERE.