Supportive Communication: Build Trust by Showing Support for Your Staff Members
For several reasons, effective communication can have a defining impact on to the success of any business. First, even when responsibilities are clearly delineated, almost no task in the modern business world is completed by one person alone. Second, the data and facts that inform our decisions are becoming increasingly complex, and the better this information is shared, the more likely we are to attain our goals. Finally, jobs in an earlier era may have depended on simple task acquisition and execution, but in the information economy, there are as many ways to approach a goal as there are personalities in the world, and our chances of success are higher if we can share our varied perspectives and find ways to overcome our differences.
What is Supportive Communication?
Supportive communication refers to the communication channel that exists between employees and their supervisors. For managers, every interaction through this channel represents an opportunity to bring out the best in the company’s most valuable resource: its people. While managers often have more control over company decisions than their direct reports, it’s the support they provide to their employees that can mean the difference between shared success and failure.
Coaching vs. Counseling
The act of counseling usually refers to helping an individual arrive at a solution using the resources that already exist within themselves, including information they already possess, traits they already display, and resources they’re already able to access. Coaching, by contrast, involves delivering information, skill sets, direction, and correction that employees don’t already have at hand. Often these resources are dictated by the demands of the company and put into place by company goals. Employees depend on counseling to develop their own careers. They rely on coaching to achieve success with specific,company-focused tasks.
Supportive Communication: Based on Congruence, Not Incongruence
As managers communicate with employees, they should observe the contrast between their words and their actual feelings and intentions. If the words we speak to our employees don’t reflect our true feelings (like anger or appreciation), our message may not be clear. Incongruence between intention and execution can happen if we deliberately attempt to hide our true feelings, and it can also happen if we ourselves don’t recognize those feelings. Mangers have a responsibility to ensure that their words are controlled, purposeful, and internally edited before those words are written or spoken.
I will discuss more on this topic in my class at Manhattan College on September 26.