Part of being a high-performing team member and running a successful agency is setting goals and making yearly improvements to ensure the company and its team are working as efficiently as possible. Refining communication, progressing skill sets, and positively connecting in the workplace are several ways your team can ensure they work as effectively and productively as possible.
Active listening skills
When working in an organization, a part of good communication is active listening, which has been proven to improve workplace productivity and performance, deepen relationships, and build confidence. Active listening involves using multiple senses to show the speaker that you are engaged and understand what they are saying rather than just hearing it. Showing interest and support for what the speaker is saying can cause them to feel more comfortable and inclined to communicate more honestly and openly. You can express your interest in the conversation by using verbal and nonverbal messages, which include nodding your head, smiling, maintaining eye contact, and using phrases such as “yes” or “Mmmm hmmm.” It is important to avoid disengaging behavior such as breaking eye contact or checking the time.
Active listening is achieved in these five stages:
- Receiving: When receiving information, ensure you are limiting yourself to any distractions in order to be able to understand the message being voiced to you.
- Understanding: In the understanding stage, you must comprehend what is being said, although you must pay attention to the speaker’s experiences and perceptions rather than focusing on your own.
- Evaluating: The evaluating stage is when the listener breaks down the message and determines its overall value. This is opinion-based due to different life experiences that can lead to other viewpoints.
- Remembering: During the remembering stage, the listener either retains the information in their long-term memory or forgets it, showing that they were not actively listening. This will be obvious to the speaker in the responding stage.
- Responding: In the responding stage, the listener either provides a verbal or nonverbal response showing they have comprehended what the speaker was voicing.
The importance of positivity in the workplace
Creating a positive work environment has several benefits, such as reducing stress, increasing productivity and creativity, improving decision-making skills, and motivating the team. A study conducted by Deloitte found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a positive corporate work environment is an important part of a company’s success. Three ways to ensure you create a better workplace for your employees are by implementing clear communication, investing in your employees’ futures, and showing appreciation for your team.
- Clear and open communication: Creating an inclusive environment where team members feel comfortable openly communicating their ideas and opinions is vital to creating a more positive work environment. You can encourage open communication in your organization by:
- Conducting surveys: Send out anonymous surveys asking employees to provide feedback on the current work environment and offer suggestions for improving workplace conditions. An important part of surveys is following through with improvements to show your team that their experience truly matters and that you actively listen to their wants and needs.
- Encourage employees to share ideas: Consistently ask team members to share any ideas; this is a great way to show each member their thoughts are valued. You can achieve this by asking them to communicate in person, via Google Meet, or communication platform such as Slack.
- Staff check-ins: If you’re meeting in person, online, or simply sending a chat, checking on team members and asking questions about their workload are crucial to ensuring the organization’s goals are being met efficiently and effectively.
- Invest in your employees’ futures: Whether you offer opportunities for promotion, webinars, or learning experiences in general, it makes your team happier and more engaged workers. In fact, according to a study by LinkedIn Learning, 94% of employees would be willing to stay at a company if it invested in their careers. In comparison, 70% of employees believed that having job-related training and professional development opportunities have influenced them to stay at their job.
- Showing appreciation for your team members: A part of encouraging a positive work environment is showing your colleagues that you appreciate their hard work and dedication to the company. This can offer recognition, such as a “great job” or “We appreciate how hard you worked on this.” Another way you can support your employees’ hard work is by writing them handwritten notes or sending them small gifts on holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or International Women’s Day as a token of appreciation.
Self- Reflection is key for setting goals
Reflection can be used in numerous aspects of the workplace, whether you want to improve your skills, recognize problem areas in how you complete your work, or identify whether you’re enjoying the agency you work with and what you do daily.
When practicing self-reflection regarding the way you work and the environment you are in, there are six areas you should be focusing on:
- Problem areas
- Overall happiness
While addressing these areas, here are some questions that can be helpful to ask yourself:
- What am I currently excelling at?
- Is there anything I need help with mastering?
- What is my greatest achievement thus far?
- What are steps I can take to improve my skill set?
- Am I happy with the work I am completing and who I am completing it for?
Based on your answers, it is important to be proud of yourself for the accomplishments and skills you have developed while also creating a plan of action to improve any skill sets you may be lacking or struggling with.
Connecting with one another is crucial to success in the office
Building positive relationships with your team members is vital; benefits can include learning from one another, being more engaged, and creating a sense of loyalty, leading to a higher retention rate.
When working on building professional relationships, there is a multitude of factors that you need to remember, including:
- Recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses: It is important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses through self-reflection. This means you may identify that you need to work on things such as active listening and conflict resolution skills, and you build these skills to increase your chances of fostering healthy work relationships.
- Mutual respect: It is of utmost importance to have mutual respect for one another in the office; However, everyone has a different position and workload. Understanding this allows each team member to support each other and work together; it is important to know when to ask your team members for help on a project and vice versa. Acknowledging that everyone’s role is important to the agency’s success will lead to a mutual understanding of the stress each team member experiences.
- Keeping your commitments: If a team member asks you to complete something, you are more likely to create long-lasting relationships when people know they can rely on you. This means to be realistic when someone asks you to complete something and let them know honestly if it is something you can do successfully by the deadline they assign.
- Listening and asking questions: Active listening is a big factor in creating healthy long-term professional relationships. Listen to what your colleagues say and ask appropriate questions about their personal lives and career goals. By asking questions, you are encouraging open communication. Therefore, it is likely that they will come to you with concerns, questions, and stories in the future.
If you are interested in learning more about how connecting with your co-workers, creating a positive work environment, active listening, and engaging in self-reflection are crucial in building a successfully operating organization, listen to episode 37 of Can You Hear Me?“Communications Resolutions and Goals for 2023.”