Survey: Most managers are uneasy about communicating with employees

Illustration of manager and employee talking over coffee.

Companies cannot succeed without successful communications between managers and employees, but communication skills are often taken for granted when a manager is hired. Assuming your managers are good communicators is a mistake.

An Interact survey of 2,000 U.S. adults by Harris Poll reveals that that 69 percent of managers are often uneasy about communicating with employees, and 37 percent say they dislike giving employees direct feedback if they think the staffer might respond negatively, the Harvard Business Review reports.

The survey results also showed that 20 percent of leaders who manage employees are uncomfortable demonstrating vulnerability such as sharing mistakes they’ve learned from, Interact reports. And if you feel like it’s been a while since the boss gave you a pat on the back, you’re not alone. A fifth of managers have a hard time praising a job well done—or, for that matter, delivering the “company line” in a genuine way.

Things like high turnover, unengaged employees, stagnant productivity, and internal strife can be telltale signs that your managers need to actively work on being better communicators.

“I have always been confounded by the way people are promoted into positions where they are going to be responsible for staff as a reward for doing their tactical job. They earned their promotion because they did a great job at something that didn’t involve managing people, not because they had great people-management skills.” says Shel Holtz.

How do you fix this you might ask?

Give managers the right mediums for communication. Face to face conversations are always a good thing to have, but sometimes it is not possible to meet with everyone individually, or you are not in the same place as an employee, or you need to communicate with 50 employees at the same time.

Red e App provides managers a communication method that is both personable and scalable. We have found through research that hourly workers are tech-savvy and have a strong desire to be engaged with their employer. This is the perfect combination for solving your communication problems with a mobile messaging solution.

Managers may be hesitant to share information for fear that they somehow convey the wrong message, or aren’t able to respond to employee questions. Red e App also includes a document repository to give managers access to coaching materials, training and FAQs. Access to resources can greatly improve a manager’s confidence.

Let me know, if you don’t mind, how you prefer to receive feedback. Do you think that age and job role impact this significantly?

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