I had this boss once who never quite understood how to articulate his thoughts properly. It wasn’t his fault, necessarily, he just wasn’t taught how to communicate.  Let’s just say, it made working for him a challenge. I became stagnant in my job, started to care less and less about the work I was doing, and eventually I quit.

Turns out communication skills are a necessity when you’re a boss. Otherwise, your employees are left in the dark without a match, a flashlight, or a pair of night-vision goggles…And that can cause problems. That can cause people to bump into walls or stumble and fall.  

So, how can you improve your communication skills as a boss? Take it from someone who works for a (Girl)boss. I’ve got a few tips for you based on my new experiences.

1. Be straightforward — let your employees know if they’re doing a good job.  And if they’re not, well, let them know that, too!  How else will they be able to make improvements?  Employees should know where they stand — be as transparent as you can.  Like a glass door, a floor-to-ceiling window, a clear umbrella, a — okay, you get the point.  Be open and honest.

2.  Indeed, you should give your employees feedback. But you should also allow them to provide you with feedback. Good communication is a two-way street. Everyone deserves a voice, yes? Yes!  And take your people’s input into account — don’t just blow off their suggestions or concerns like you would an old friend from high-school. (At DFSCC we all communicate and value each other’s thoughts no matter if it’s about weather, advertising campaigns, marketing collateral, or shoes.)

3.  Don’t be like a distant boyfriend or spouse who constantly travels overseas for work.  As the leader of your tribe, you should physically be present at the office.  Be available to your employees. Side note: We actually love our time together. That’s what building a great team is all about. You WANT to be together.

4.  Show some recognition for your employees every once in a while.  Let them know they’re valuable — it will give them warm-fuzzies inside. Praise keeps your team motivated to keep up their good work. Everyone deserves a pat on the back for a job-well-done. #WordsOfAffirmation

Now. . . Go forth and communicate (effectively)!