Are your leadership communication skills scaring off employees?

It’s that time of year when things can get a little spooky. The nights draw in, the clocks go back and the workload comes in thick and fast. Tension in the workplace can tend to rise at this time of year when people get geared up for the pre-Christmas rush to hit targets – especially if you work in retail. Some of the most common reasons for this are: tight deadlines, too much responsibility and lack of managerial support (Labour Force Survey, 2015). But when the going gets tough with your team, are your leadership communication skills contributing to their stress? When 58% of employees think they can’t trust their leadership team anymore, maybe it’s time to take a fresh approach (Achievers, 2015). Here’s our check-list to ascertain you’re not scaring them off – in more ways than one.

Are you distracting your team?

Do you tend to ‘fly-in’ with spontaneous requests, little chit-chats and unprompted meetings? If your team members are spinning plates on a frequent basis then maybe it’s time to take a step back. A staggering 76% of employees say interruptions from colleagues are productivity killers (FlexJobs 4th Annual Survey, 2015). Ensure you assign tasks and communicate them in a timely and effective manner. Oh and maybe take a little time-out on your weekend happenings by the water cooler.

Do you tend to show your feelings?

Being transparent is important but how we communicate with our team says a lot about our leadership skills. Your tone of voice, body language and how you deliver the message is the engine room for influencing employee behaviour. Robust research supports this:

• 55% of the meaning in communicating attitudes and feelings is in the facial expression (Professor Albert Mehrabian, Silent Messages)
• 38% of the meaning in communication of attitudes and feelings is in the way that words are said (Professor Albert Mehrabian, Silent Messages)
• 7% of the meaning in communication of attitudes and feelings is in the words that are spoken (Professor Albert Mehrabian, Silent Messages)

Do you recognise and action employee fairness?

Communicate a culture of inclusion and diversity through all job levels – don’t just reserve it for the lucky few. CIPD’s Employee Outlook 2015 report reveals that employees believe the most important behavioural traits of line managers are: being fair (32%) and being honest and open (29%).

How well understood is your company’s cultural ‘fit’?

In a recent survey, a whopping 70% of employees said they couldn’t describe what their company culture was (Achievers, 2015). This denotes a lack of commercial direction and less than adequate leadership communication skills in terms of communicating company values. Find new ways to engage your people with the company’s Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and don’t just reserve it for on-boarding. It’s an evolving practise that needs to resonate and remind people why they are instrumental to the wider picture.

For more information on how effective leadership communications can improve performance and your bottom line, call Caburn Hope on 01273 480404 or email

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