Prioritize: Of course, things can come up during the day that can keep you from communicating with your team. While missing a day here and there may not be a big deal, if you have found that a whole week has gone by without communicating, make a point of getting together for lunch or hold a meeting to make sure you touch base. This will keep your staff motivated and let them know that their thoughts and opinions are appreciated.
Listen: Once you have found the time to communicate with your team, make the most out of it by being sure to listen. This may seem obvious, but often our minds wander when we are involved in a conversation. Do your best to listen and really tune in so you can learn more about what your team has to offer as well as possible frustrations and challenges they may be dealing with.
Coach: Coaching is a great way to develop and build employee skill sets. Be sure to not only lay out a framework for your strategies but to advise as you go. Allow your team members to give input so they can create a path to follow and direct the plan of action based on the template you have provided.
Teach: Teaching can be a bit of a one way street but it becomes necessary when you see a member of your team struggling with a particular skill or task. While teaching, be sure to lay out a foundation with steps for an employee to follow and explain how this will help them achieve their goal. Showing them how following your plan can make their lives easier will make them more receptive to learning.
Direct: This involves laying out the steps your team needs to take to move a project forward. Devise an outline but be sure to leave your team plenty of room to work and create within this outline. Otherwise, it will seem as if you are dictating rather than directing and employees will be less likely to be cooperative as a result.
You can walk this fine line by paying careful attention to your delivery. Keep things light and point out instances where rules should be followed and opportunities where employees can use their creativity to help the project along.
Motivate: Keeping a team motivated is perhaps the most important thing. A motivated team will be more focused, more productive and happier overall. Your ability to listen and understand will help you figure out ways to motivate your team members to get the best results possible.
Communication is an important part of any job, but it is especially valuable in helping a manager effectively lead his or her team. Be sure to tune in to your team to determine their needs and present each project with an outline that gives your employees plenty of room to grow and create. This should lead to a more motivated, more productive team that will help you all move forward in your careers.