Communication Skills For Managers: Definition And Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Managers use a variety of skills to lead their teams, train new employees and achieve strategic growth goals for the organisation they serve. Communication is an important aspect of management, as it allows a manager to convey information effectively to both employees and customers. If you are a management professional, learning about key communication skills can help you develop strong professional relationships with employees and ensure high productivity on your team. In this article, we discuss seven valuable communication skills for managers.

7 Examples Of Communication Skills For Managers

Here are details about seven key communication skills for managers:

1. Active listening

Active listening is a type of listening that involves interacting with the person who is speaking. This practice ensures that you understand what they are saying and also shows that you respect them. In active listening, you might summarise what you have heard from the speaker and ask clarifying questions when you are unsure of the speaker's meaning. You might also take notes while they speak if the topic is complex or important. Managers who practise active listening in their workplace can encourage members of their team to also actively listen when they communicate with customers and each other.

For example, a customer services manager might use active listening during their regular meetings with each team member. When team members describe issues that they are having with customers or other team members, the manager might ask for more information about their feelings or take notes on the situation. By acknowledging the speaker and recording the key points of the conversation, the manager can make the team member feel valued. The team member might use the same method to speak to customers, which can make a good impression on them.

Related: Building Communication Skills: 10 Types Of Listening

2. Writing skills

Written communication is an important part of a manager's responsibilities, especially in remote companies where employees communicate through email and chat programs. Effective written communication expresses the writer's meaning and anticipates questions that the recipient might have. It also has an appropriate tone for the context and fits the relationship between the writer and readers. For managers, this might mean using a friendly but professional tone that matches the rapport they have with members of their team. Finally, written communication has focus, which means you might have a single topic per message to help ensure clarity.

For example, a programming director might manage a team of coders who work remotely. To communicate with them, the director might use a chat program for short questions and email for more complex messages. If the director has two separate topics to discuss with the team, they might send two emails, one for each topic. That way, team members can ask questions in response to each message and file the message in the right location.

Related: Interview Questions About Writing Skills With Sample Answers

3. Public speaking skills

Many managers speak in front of small and large groups, often in a variety of settings. In their daily work, they may lead a team of employees and might give daily speeches about the team's goals. They might also lead training exercises for their department and others or speak to new employees about the function of their department. As leadership professionals, they may speak to other audiences, like the company's leadership board, investors or customers. Their ability to speak in public allows them to share their industry expertise and engage their audiences.

For example, an inventory manager might give a daily presentation to their team about the company's current inventory stocks and any incoming shipments. Along with these presentations, they might give a longer speech to each training group of new employees at the company. In this speech, they might describe what the inventory team does and describe how to contact the team if they need guidance about merchandise. Finally, the inventory manager might speak at the monthly directors' meeting, where they share inventory numbers with the leadership team and describe any strategic goals the team has accomplished.

Related: Types Of Public Speaking Skills And How To Improve Them

4. Ability to give effective feedback

A manager's ability to give tactful feedback can help them improve employee performance. While it is important to give accurate feedback about team members' performance, phrasing the feedback tactfully can make the listener more willing to consider your advice. Effective managers might create a feedback sheet and give each member of the team a copy, so everyone understands the standards and expects the manager's feedback. They may also use language that focuses on the employee's performance and the company's goals.

For example, a camp director might employ a team of young counsellors. These counsellors might be learning how to act professionally as they care for the children at the camp. The director might give their employees feedback about appropriate language and dress that can help them in their future careers. To ensure the employees take the feedback well, the director might model appropriate behaviour and explain why they act in certain ways in the professional setting. Then, they can have individual meetings with employees who need more help learning these skills.

Related: A Step By Step Guide On How To Give Feedback (With Examples)

5. Conflict resolution skills

The ability to resolve conflicts is valuable for many managers. Teams often work more productively when team members get along and collaborate effectively. If two employees have a conflict, it can limit the team's ability to meet its goals. When a manager learns about conflicts between team members, they might meet with each employee individually to learn about the conflict and understand their perspective. Then, they might mediate between the two and suggest a solution that satisfies both individuals. If the manager cannot resolve the issue, they may take direct action, like termination.

For example, a restaurant manager might learn that two of the restaurant's servers are having an argument about which tables they serve during overlapping shifts. They might speak to both employees and then arrange a meeting to decide how the host might allocate tables in the future. If the employees still cannot get along, the manager might choose to rearrange their schedules so they do not share any shifts.

Related: Social Skills: Definition, Examples And Why They Are Important

6. Empathy

Empathic skills include the ability to understand how other people feel in a certain situation. As managers often have difficult conversations with employees or customers, this ability helps them lead productive discussions and connect with others. If they can relate to the person they are speaking to, they may be able to devise a solution that meets everyone's needs. Empathy also helps managers detect changes in employee's tone or word choice that might indicate they are having a difficult time fulfilling their work responsibilities.

For example, an IT manager might lead a team of specialists to provide service to a large business. If one of their team members is struggling to complete their tickets by their service deadlines, the manager might speak to them about their difficulties. The manager can use empathy to remember what it was like to be a new IT professional. By relating their experience to the employee's situation, they can speak kindly to the team member and suggest ways to improve their performance.

Related: Social Skills Training: Definition, Uses And Types

7. Facilitation skills

Often, managers lead group conversations where team members speak about their experiences and explain what they have learnt in their jobs. Facilitation is a valuable conversational skill that allows a manager to start and monitor conversations. A conversation facilitator might ask initial questions and recognise when certain members of the team want to speak. They may also ask conversation participants to clarify something that they have said or correct any misunderstandings. At the end of the conversation, they may summarise the main points that different team members have made and suggest a plan of action to achieve key goals.

For example, a sales team lead might host a weekly discussion for representatives on their team. During this discussion, the team members can describe challenging calls or customer meetings and ask the other members of their team for suggestions on how to resolve any issues they have encountered. Because the goal of this conversation is for the team members to learn from their peers, the team lead might simply facilitate the discussion by asking initial questions and calling on team members who raise their hands.

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