Effective interpersonal communication skills

Photo by Jonathan Powell / CC BY 2.0  

Most managers would believe they are effective communicators and for the most part they would be right. But to a great extent, the skill and inter-personal process of effective listening is missing in action most days. The sum total of workload, responsibility, deadlines, interruptions, etc. stand in the way to an otherwise effectively communicating manager. How effective delegation is supported by this is significant.

What are some of the causes for this contradiction, “I am an effective listener but I may not be listening”?

The first “aha” is to understand that hearing someone is not effectively listening to someone. I know I have caught myself a number of times looking at my computer e-mails while at the same time only partially listening to an employee. There is no doubt the employee perceives that you ae not fully engaged with them. This creates a negative feeling for the employee. “I must not be worth listening to” or “what I need to say is not important.” No manager would deliberately want this perception to stand.

Managing the communication process

The manager has the responsibility to manage the communication situation and place themselves in the best spot to be an effective listener. First, if an employee drops in with something they need to discuss, stop long enough to find out what they need and then set the timetable. If it is urgent and relevant to the business units work, and you can take a few minutes, ask the employee to give you a quick overview. You can then decide if further dialogue needs to take place and schedule the appropriate time.

If the employee’s need or issue can really wait, let them know you are in the middle of some important activities and suggest some days/times when you can give them your undivided attention. If you are forthright and indicate that you want to have the discussion and go so far as to set a time, the employee will feel that they have been treated fairly. They can understand your work load and priorities and will appreciate your candor.

Best Manager Communications tip

The best manager I ever worked for always made you feel like you were the only person in the world and that what you had to say was important for him to hear.

He did not do that on every occasion you interacted. Many times he would indicate that he needed to hear what you had to say and would ask if it could wait until such and such a time when he could devote full attention. when you met at the appointed time, he did in fact give you his full and undivided attention. It made you feel great and the trust level was reinforced.

Additional Management Resources

Communicating Assignments

Learn More: You can learn more from our e-books, “Management By Delegation” and “Delegating Through the Lens of the Employee” that bring real world experience and proven skills and tools to managers world wide.Plan-Delegate-Manage is an organization that strives to tested techniques, proven skills and valuable management delegation tools to those who manage people for results.


Michael D. Moore is the publisher of Management By Delegation and is a veteran executive with 40+ years in the Banking and Insurance Industries. A devoted entrepreneur, using his business experience to provide resources for managers and leaders at all levels. For the last 5 years, he has built a growing web presence for helping people with personal and professional development. To learn more about these advanced concepts & join our group Click here 5 Must Have Management Skills

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