Let's tackle an issue that's often overlooked but could be the missing link in your business: employee communication. Communication is like a treasure map that has many gold bits hidden in it, such as money, time, and a great place to work.
The Double-Edged Sword: Technology
Smartphones and software have made it easier than ever to talk to people. But is the communication between us actually made easier by this technology? Let's be honest, most of the time, these tools cut down the talk to small bits of information that leave out all the details and emotions.
Introduce your team to online platforms that encourage conversations. Trello or Asana can keep everyone up to date on the progress of a project, and Slack or Microsoft Teams let people talk and give feedback right away. It's like having a virtual coffee break room where people talk about projects and joke with each other.
For getting time-sensitive messages out to the entire staff (or a specific segment of the workforce) text message software like Team Engine reaches everyone instantly where they're like to read it (and respond, if necessary) within minutes of receiving it.
A Culture of Openness
Having an open culture in your business means making sure everyone feels good about sharing their ideas and feedback without being scared. It's like making your business a place where good ideas can grow. Encourage your team to share what they think, especially since they work out in the field daily with the materials and your clients. Make sure they know it’s safe to share their thoughts, and they won’t get in trouble for it.
You could have a “what’s dumb around here meeting” where everyone shares what is not working anymore. In these meetings, they should share what they feel is wrong or not working in the business. They then must give suggestions on how to improve it. This will make your team feel important, and it could even help improve your business. I suggest having these meetings a few times a year.
Having a culture of openness will make your business a place where employees feel free and comfortable to share ideas and thoughts.
According to Albert Mehrabian, 55% of communication is nonverbal. Learn to read and interpret your team's body language, and adjust your own. Every gesture, posture, and facial expression tells a story. Crossed arms, for instance, could signal resistance or discomfort, possibly hinting at an employee's unease with a task or a decision you made. On the flip side, it might simply be a comfortable stance for them. Figuring out these clues correctly can help you understand things better and solve problems more quickly.
In the landscaping business, the first 15 minutes of the workday are crucial. This time can set the tone for the day. Picture your team, coffees in hand, gathering for a briefing that goes beyond a mere checklist. It is an active meeting where the day's tasks, special projects, and client-specific instructions are discussed. Team members are encouraged to voice concerns or share ideas, which encourages collaboration and stops problems from happening on-site. Tailor these meetings to the day’s specific needs, whether that involves strategizing for complex projects or reinforcing best practices. Incorporate visual aids or demonstrations for engaging and informative discussions. Celebrate company milestones and team successes during this time to build team spirit.
End with a feedback round, understanding what the team found useful and what could be improved, ensuring these sessions remain relevant and valuable. When you plan, motivate, and prepare your team first thing in the morning, you will help set everyone up for a successful and a more efficient day.
It's really important to explain why we do things, not just tell them what to do. When you explain to your team why they're doing a task, like why a certain way of cutting plants is best or why we pick certain flowers for a garden, they get it. They recognize the bigger picture. Everything will seem more important after this. The employees will understand that their work is important for keeping customers happy and the business running smoothly.
A great way to keep your team excited about their work is to explain the "why" they are doing what they are doing. This will make them want to work harder and care more about what they do and how they will do it. You can tell someone what to do, but until they understand the “why,” they will not care.
Active listening is a key part of being a great leader. You must connect with and understand what your team says, not just hear it.
For example, when an employee comes to you with an issue they have with another employee, listen to what they have to say. Show that you genuinely care about them and that you want to understand their point of view or how they feel by asking questions. Now if you ask simple "yes" or "no” questions, that is not enough. You need to dig in and ask them deeper questions that make them think and share more information about what is going on. And when you respond, be thoughtful and constructive with your feedback. Make sure to look at them while they speak, nod to show you're following along, and avoid distractions like your phone. When they finish sharing, restate what they said in your own words to ensure you are clear on what they said. Listening this way shows that you are not just a boss but a leader who wants the best for everyone on your team.
Now you have a fresh look at how to talk to your employees that goes beyond the same old tips you have heard a million times. If you use these communication skills in your landscaping company, everyone will be happier and want to work better together. The end result will be a happier workplace that is way more productive.