Managers have many responsibilities. They lead a team or department, report to senior management, meet deadlines and use creativity to improve performance. To succeed in a leadership role, effective communication is essential.
The University of Southern Indiana’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program focuses on preparing students for leadership roles. Accordingly, core coursework covers methods of communication for managers in depth, exploring oral, written and interpersonal communication as well as related skills surrounding group dynamics, ethics, team building and change management.
To start with, here are six tips for effective communication in management:
1. Know Your Own Communication Style
Some of us are direct. Others lead up to their point in a more roundabout manner. Some of us are sarcastic — whether intentionally or not. Others use humor or anecdotes to make a point. It is important for you to be aware of your own style so you can adapt and use an alternate style when the situation or audience calls for it.
2. Know How Others Communicate
It is likely that the people you manage, report to and work with have varied communication styles. Pay attention to body language, too. If people say they agree while shaking their head or refusing to make eye contact, chances are good that they don’t truly agree.
3. Tailor Your Communications
If a person abhors confrontation, taking an indirect approach to address a problem can prove more effective. If your manager is a bottom-line person, consider starting with a summary before you go into detail.
4. Change up Communication Methods When Addressing a Group
Within a group, you may not know the individuals or have time to consider which communication style would work best. When this is the case, handouts or a presentation to highlight the key points are great ways to get your message across. Do not overfill or clutter the screen or paper. Present the core message clearly and leave room in handouts for participants to take notes.
5. Written Communication Is Not the Same As Spoken
Email, texts and other forms of written communication often take the place of meetings or conversations, especially in the age of remote work environments. Successful communication in management involves being aware of the differences. Unless you fill your written communication with emoticons or parenthetical comments — don’t do it — the reader cannot gauge your intent, look at your face for cues, listen to the inflections in your voice, or tell if you are laughing or crying. For this reason, avoid ambiguity and write as clearly as possible.
6. Follow up With an Email
Whether you communicate in writing, via video chat or in person, recap the important points in a follow-up email to all parties. Use a subject line like “Recap of Meeting on July 20, 2023” to make retrieval easy. Within the body of the email, also list the participants, the issues discussed, the action agreed upon and any outstanding matters. In writing this recap, you have made it clear what you took away from the interaction. The email also allows the other parties to correct any misunderstandings before everyone heads off to start work.
These tips can help you improve your communication in leadership settings. The importance of strong communication for business leaders cannot be overstated. In fact, 2023 research findings from GMAC and LinkedIn both show that communication skills are among the skills employers value most. Through studying communication and leadership in an online MBA program, you can take your communication skills to the next level, preparing you for wherever your career leads.
Learn about the University of Southern Indiana’s online MBA program.