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Managers Need To Improve Communication Skills: Study Reveals

Submitted by  on August 17th, 2011

Woman manager and man in meetingPerhaps one of the most significant benefits from moving the needle on employee engagement and motivation is increased productivity. While employee incentive programs can go some way to increasing staff motivation, a recent survey conducted by European Leaders has found that poor communication between employees and managers may be largely responsible for reduced levels of employee performance.

The results of the survey, carried out by European Leaders in June 2011, show that 64% of participants claim that they would work more efficiently with increased motivation. It has been well documented that motivation levels influence staff performance and productivity. The study supports this notion, with employees reporting that better communication from senior management has a positive impact on how they perform in the workplace.

The study shows that motivation levels may be improved if managers spent more time communicating their organization’s overall plan. This is highlighted by the fact that 68% of those surveyed fail to understand their company’s vision, and that only 18% view the organization they worked for as being a good company. In previous posts, I’ve highlighted equally significant communication factors impacting productivity, including building manager-employee trust levels and coaching for performance.

Other notable findings from this study are that 15% of participants have skills from outside interests and hobbies that could be utilized more effectively in the workplace. In addition to this, 34% believe that good managers should recognize when employees have expertise that is not being put to use. Given these statistics, it may not be surprising to learn that only 36% of employees claim that they are working to their full potential.

Of the 2,000 participants in this study, a large portion sees strong management as being crucial to fostering high motivation levels within their workplace. The main qualities that they see as necessary for management to have are the ability to convey passion and enthusiasm about work to their employees and to challenge their workers to work to their full potential. They also feel that effective managers have the capacity to identify what motivates their employees and make work more engaging.

The upshot of this survey is that employees do care about their work and the organizations they work for. If managers took more positive steps to engage with their workers, much more of their untapped skills and energy will be unleashed for the betterment of the organization. The best part is that communicating with employees at a personal level costs nothing.

It is widely recognized that the performance of organizations is largely influenced by the performance of their employees, and that employee motivation is a major contributor to the performance of the workforce. This study shows productivity could be easily enhanced through more effective management, with very little financial investment required.


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Posted in Communication, Performance, Research | Comments (6)

6 Responses to “Managers Need To Improve Communication Skills: Study Reveals”

  1. Josh Kuehler Says:

    Many have suggested that the performance of a manager can be measured by the performance of his/her team.

    This article hits on two aspects: Hertzberg’s theory on employee motivation (coaching) and the quality of relationship between an employee and his/her manager (trust).

    Having a sense of contribution is one of Hertzberg’s drivers of motivation. I can easily see how a manager’s communications relates an employee’s performance to the success of the company. Coaching an employee will instill challenge and growth.

    Now it’s a matter of understanding what each person’s preferences are and tying those preferences to the coaching.

  2. Leslie Allan Says:

    Thanks Josh. Yes, you’re right. Coaching is an important tool for improving productivity in the workplace. As for preferences, in my blog post on BlessingWhite’s employee engagement survey I outline eight employee preferences that impact productivity. Managers take note!

  3. Leon Noone Says:

    G’Day Les,
    Last year, I had a “blinding flash of the obvious” about communication in the workplace.
    Firstly, it is the core management skill. It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do. If you can’t communicate effectively about it, you’re in trouble.
    Then it dawned on me that words are merely vehicles for meaning. And grammar and spelling are the lubricants that keep the wheels turning smoothly on the vehicle.
    The essence of good communication is meaning. In talking about writing, the great Robert Gunning said, “Write to express; not to impress.” And John Howard said about his extraordinarily successful autobiography, “If readers don’t understand what I mean, I’ve failed.”
    Please check my website
    for more about this heinous heresy.

    Make sure you have fun
    Best Wishes

  4. Leslie Allan Says:

    Hello Leon,

    Yes, I call communication an underpinning skill as it underpins and makes effective so many other management skills. Without good communication skills, a manager would not be an effective planner, performance reviewer, delegator, coach, etc. Thanks for chipping in Leon with your “heresy”.

  5. Paul Mathew Says:

    Very timely and relevant. Communication is perhaps the most critical ingredient of a powerful and productive team environment. An effective leader must ensure that everyone in the team has clarity of a common goal and alignment to a common success. This involves goal clarity, role clarity, and other-role clarity. This is what is defined through the “CorporateTheatre” methodology as the 2nd Pillar of a ‘natural’ team. Without communication it is not possible to install this pillar.

  6. Isabelle Fitzgerald Says:

    “…64% of participants claim that they would work more efficiently with increased motivation.” Motivation can mean so many things for so many people. Fear and reward are basic and with these worked out you can cut 35-38% from that 64%, the rest that need hand holding can just be like robots or they can motivate themselves.

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