Top Communication Skills Needed For Tech Managers

by | Aug 18, 2022

The tech industry relies on fast ideas, out-of-the-box creativity, and a work ethic to get things done before someone else beats you to it. This often fosters a perceived culture of stress and ambition and discounts any softness needed to keep the machine well-oiled. As a tech manager, it is necessary to ensure that your team is satisfied with the results and enjoying the process to maximize efficiency and output. 

Being a great leader is less about knowing everything and more about communicating in a way that brings the best out of your team. While there may be some accepted truths about communication, there is also a healthy number of exceptions that provide proof that each person thinks and acts uniquely. A good leader will not only understand tried and tested methods of healthy communication but will also have the ability to adapt on the fly to ensure everyone’s needs are being met. 

Below we go through some of the most important communication skills needed to be an effective leader and manager in the fast-paced tech industry. Let us know if you need anything explained more clearly.

The last few years have brought a tsunami of awareness to the importance of people’s individual perspectives. More specifically, people are a product of their personal experiences, education, cultural beliefs, and subjective tastes. This is what makes each person inherently unique. 

Understanding and Addressing Employees Needs

While company structure is needed to ensure that projects are completed and met with a good standard, there is a balance to be struck when it comes to being flexible with employee needs. This becomes particularly important as more teams move remote and the requirements of employees out of an office environment change dramatically. 

Listening to your employees’ needs will help you better understand who they are, what motivates them, and what makes them tick. Instead of trying to fit each person into a box, it pays to create new boxes where employees can excel at their jobs. While this calls for flexibility and understanding initially, it will often result in incredible results as people feel valued, motivated, and fulfilled in their roles. 

Be Open and Honest

Honesty is the new currency. A workplace with honesty and transparency leaves little to be resented, and employees have an idea about where they stand and what is expected of them at all times.

If leaders are not honest with their employees, they can’t expect them to be honest in return. Trust begets trust, and being open and honest to your employees’ questions will build a healthy rapport that will percolate into all work-related conversations. 

Honesty does not only apply to those conversations that seem easy to have. In fact, the more difficult an exchange is to have, the more important it probably is. As a manager, it is important to develop the skills to communicate when more is needed from an employee and for the words to be delivered in an empowering and motivating way, not condescending and demeaning. Once these hard conversations are had, it also encourages employees to be more confident in expressing their needs and boundaries, making the working relationship much more transparent. 

Be An Active Listener

This may seem easy, but to be a proper active listener takes practice and intention. Active listening is being fully present in a conversation, making eye contact, and ensuring that you are hearing your employee’s concerns. This means no phone calls, no distractions, and no excuses that will end the meeting short. 

Active listening also means not being ready to respond before your turn. Let the employee voice their opinion entirely, and don’t prepare a response before you hear them out completely. When they are done, respond from the heart, helping them to understand they have been heard, not just listened to. 

Active listening doesn’t only apply to the “negatives” of a business. It also means that managers should be aware of the different aspects of the company. Effective managers might not be the best at every step of the process they manage, but they should have an open and honest understanding of each part. This allows them to empathize with all angles of the business and ensure that each “cog” is heard and understood. Sometimes this involves some research and understanding on the part of the manager, spending some time trying to conceptualize and understand how different job roles function and what needs they may have. 

Be Consistent, Timely, and Humble

It should not be the manager’s job to have all the answers. If this is the case, it promotes a culture of “top-down knowledge” where the management is put on a pedestal only to have their credibility questioned when things go sour. Authentic leadership focuses on consistency and humility, having the ability to admit when they don’t know the answer. But they are dedicated to finding the best solution if they don’t immediately realize it. 

Being consistent as a manager also means being stoic and calm in all situations. Learning to separate the emotional response to a problem from its immediate reaction is important, not only in business but in personal life. Healthy communication comes from an awareness of any trigger and a response. In a high-stress industry such as tech, a manager’s ability to weather the storm provides stability in the face of chaos. 

Being timely as a leader means choosing the right time to address specific issues. This means being empathetic to employees’ stress levels and not piling on concerns when more pressing issues are to be dealt with. As a manager, this takes an incredible amount of responsibility for your personal stress. Stress should never roll downhill. Pestering employees won’t result in better output, yet insufficient communication could result in complacency. A good manager will learn what each employee responds best to and ask for feedback on how often and how they wish to be communicated. 

Being humble as a manager means being able to admit when mistakes have been made and have the best interest of your employees at heart. Sticking with an idea out of stubbornness and pride is not in the long-term interest of any company, so it takes humility to be able to cut it short and start again. This goes for all aspects of business, from financial decisions to staffing and product design. 

Wrapping It Up

A team that communicates effectively can accomplish amazing things. The tech industry brings many challenges to managers, from fast deadlines to remote working protocols that require virtual meetings and endless management software programs. Yet the ability to communicate effectively with a team, no matter the conditions, could very well be the most important factor in ensuring a healthy culture and exceptional results. 

These communication skills take time to develop and train, but it starts with awareness. As a manager, practicing healthy communication with yourself, your family, friends, and colleagues is important. With some dedicated practice, healthy communication can quickly revolutionize your team management. 

Written By Cam@MagicMondayz

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