Effective Supervisor Communication

There are certain principles pertaining to communication that you must never forget when you are a supervisor. Communication can be complicated; seemingly simple statements can be misinterpreted. And, once you say something, it can’t be taken back. Communication is subject to the situation, environment and culture in which it is surrounded.

People bring their attitudes, beliefs, judgments and prejudices to the table when communicating. Treating each employee as an individual and taking other points of view into account makes for effective supervisor communication. The key is to turn off your filters, listen and ask questions.

One of the most difficult things to overcome is the ability to turn off your communication filters. People tend to see things through their own perspective, warping the meaning of what is actually being said. Distractions, emotions, beliefs, fear and differing communication styles can interfere with effective communication. Get to know your filters and consider how they may interfere with the way you communicate.

Understanding what someone is saying to you is the most important element in having a productive conversation. This advice might seem simplistic but we’ve all had the experience of having a seemingly simple request or statement misconstrued by another. The best way to accomplish understanding is to ask questions when appropriate and pause before responding. Refrain from interrupting and arguing, first seek to understand then be understood.

Listen when your employees are speaking to you. Put down your BlackBerry, turn off your thoughts about the next Board meeting and listen to the information being presented to you. Listening builds better relationships both on and off the job.

Parts of Communication

Ask for opinions, ideas and advice from your employees. Soliciting feedback will make employees feel comfortable about speaking up about good ideas and workplace concerns.
It is said that the words we actually speak only make up about 7 percent of our communication. The remainder is body language, 55 percent, and paralanguage (tone, pitch and pace), 38 percent. In order to effectively communicate you need to be aware of all three parts and how someone may perceive them. The best way to verbally communicate is to state your point clearly, briefly, concisely and without jargon. Avoid words that are critical, blaming and judgmental. Sending the intended message requires your language, paralanguage and body language to be congruent.