8. June 2020

7 Useful rules for good communication.

By Riccardo Giacometti

Leadership is achieved through communication. In order to handle management tasks successfully, it is helpful to address communication within the company. Particularly important: Managers should follow the rules of information transfer and information practice.

As managers, we are in regular contact with our employees. Leadership is achieved through communication because information transfer is necessary to fulfill the tasks of leadership. Communication is particularly necessary for the following management tasks:

  1. Agreeing on goals: Managers agree on goals with employees in terms of quality, processes, tasks, performance, or other KPIs that help to achieve the common goals.
  2. Planning: Managers plan how many and which employees they will assign when and where. Good planning is communicated for at least four weeks in advance. And yes, it is feasible and contributes to the work-life balance of the team.
  3. Challenge and encourage: Managers delegate tasks, authority, and responsibility to their employees and support them in their tasks.
  4. Cooperate: Leaders enable cooperation among team members, as well as between team members and leaders.
  5. Assess: Managers evaluate the work results of the employees. Feedback is a communication tool.

The basic prerequisite for good communication in a team is a common goal, a clear allocation of tasks, and (through employee events, meetings, goal setting, and feedback conversations) structured communication and alignment about what is happening. As soon as communication in the team is not going well, check if 1) responsibilities and tasks are clarified, and 2) there are ritualized ways of sharing what is happening at the moment.

1. Regular training

Many managers believe that employee training only takes place on the induction day. However, regular workshops, daily five-minute training sessions, and staff meetings help to strengthen best practices and address new challenges. Give your employees the opportunity to communicate their concerns with management to perfect hotel operations.

2. Increase transparency

Share profit figures, customer satisfaction, company goals, and reasons for management decisions transparently and openly with all employees. This is an easy way to strengthen the trust of your employees. At the same time, you show that you care about your employees; this, in turn, increases motivation within the team.

3. Do not talk about someone, but with them!

I consider this rule to be the most important. As soon as communication with a person becomes difficult, we tend not to discuss our concerns with them authentically. Instead, we retreat and talk to a third party about the unspeakable behavior of that person. Not good. It’s really quite simple. If you are angry with someone on the team or can’t get along with them, you should take the time and put your heart into a conversation with them. Check how often you would rather talk about someone than with them. Change that. If so, you’ll notice how wonderful it is when the relationship between you and that person relaxes.

4. Get out of the gossip mill!

There are probably rumors in every hotel (and other companies too, of course). Colleagues meet in the staff dining room or smokers’ area and share the latest news with each other. So far, so good. But what if small talk suddenly turns into gossip?

Either you withdraw from these conversations immediately, or you reveal that it is a harmless form of gossiping, and then everyone knows that neither reality nor relevance is being discussed here! It’s best to leave it in its entirety.

5. Respect your self-esteem

In communication, we always negotiate our self-esteem because it is through communication that we shape our relationships with each other. Someone wrote to me: “You haven’t even put the documents in the mail yet!” And I thought, “Oh, boy, you got me. I’m so unreliable, and the other person must find me unprofessional.” But it’s so crucial to make sure you think about the relationship level when you communicate. What do you want to say, and how can the message get through to the other person? Make sure that the way you formulate something strengthens rather than weakens the self-esteem of the other person.

6. Give correct feedback

Feedback means positive input. In feedback, you describe how you perceived the behavior of someone and what this triggered in you at that moment. If a colleague is often late, and this annoys you, you can say the following:

Instead of “You are always late!” you can say, “Hey, I have noticed that in the last four days, you have been 15 to 20 minutes late for work.  We are under a lot of pressure at breakfast right now, and I need your support. If you are late, the team feels abandoned. Please be on time so that we can start work and make our guests happy.”

Feedback always refers to how you perceive something and what follows for you in the here and now! Here are the rules: No flippant statements (“Last month, it was like that too!”) and no interpretations (“You are unreliable!”). Once you adhere to these guidelines, things will work out.

7. Do you want a solution, or do you want to be right?

In situations when communication proves to be challenging, you can ask yourself this: Am I oriented toward a solution, or do I want to be right? If you want to be right, be prepared for your counterpart to not give up their position without a fight. If you are oriented toward a solution and are willing to change your position, you may win a partner in the other person. Here’s the thing: You can’t do both. You cannot want to be right and expect a rosy communication situation. If you insist on your point of view, then one of you will lose in any case — maybe even both — because each of you will miss the opportunity to combine the best of two points of view and to compensate for the weaknesses of the respective perspectives. Sometimes, it is wise to insist on one perspective strategically. But often, it is better to cooperate with each other. It is important that you learn through analysis of events and self-reflection to distinguish when one or the other strategy is meaningful and effective.

Good communication is worthwhile. Because look into your life! What makes you really happy? When is your work fun? And on which evenings are you “well, but tired” instead of completely exhausted? Doesn’t that always have something to do with the quality of your relationships? So let’s build good relationships through good communication.