6 Habits of Effective Communicators

Communicating effectively leads to managing exceptionally. Adopting these six habits will make you a better leader and put your practice on track for success.
Maureen McKinney
Published: January 26, 2017
According to Forbes, among the qualities that make leaders truly exceptional are courage, passion, communication, generosity, humility, self-awareness, authenticity, and approachability.
 
Every business needs a leader who can communicate effectively, and veterinary practices are no exception. To achieve success, good communication is vital in every staff interaction and every client transaction. Among staff, effective communication fosters teamwork and productivity. With clients, it’s vital for gaining new business and keeping existing clients happy.
 
Here's a look at 6 habits that will make any veterinary practice manager or owner a more effective communicator.

1. Listen more than you speak.

To feel satisfied, people need to know that they are not just being listened to but actually heard. By actively listening—which means sincerely trying to understand what your employees are saying—you show both that you are paying attention and that you care about your team’s concerns.
 

2. Be transparent.

Exceptional bosses are open, honest, and earnest, which makes the team feel valued and willing to work together. Being transparent means saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Don’t be secretive, and don’t cover up your mistakes. Instead, share information and knowledge generously with your team. They’ll be a better team for it.
 

3. Make time for praise.

A little bit of praise goes a long way, say researchers from Harvard Business Review, who found that the amount of praise given to a team is directly proportional to the amount of success the team achieves. In fact, even low-performing teams saw a large amount of improvement with only a small amount of encouragement. Praise makes hard-working employees feel appreciated, and it offers direction for lesser performers to up their game.
 

4. Be constructive in your criticism.

Praise is wonderful, but there are times when the boss must point out something a team member did that was less than desirable. The difference with effective leaders is that their criticism is given calmly and considerately and includes a specific mechanism for the team member to improve his or her behavior, knowledge, or performance.
 

5. Encourage feedback.

Great leaders are willing not only to provide constructive feedback but also to take it. Look to all your team members, from the highest-level technicians to the kennel workers and groomers, for feedback and ideas. Your whole team sees what happens throughout the practice every day, so they’re often able to provide new insights and ideas.
 

6. Keep an open-door policy.

An open-door policy creates an environment that allows everyone on the team to feel comfortable bringing up issues or concerns they are having. Whether it be a mistake, a new idea, or a career choice, the trust and the sentiment that staff members are not interrupting needs to exist throughout the practice.
 

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