Most managers and supervisors would probably agree that their job is a heck of a lot easier when employees are on the ball. It is when those workers are restless and unhappy that things become exponentially more difficult. When the wheels start to fall off, the source of the problem can usually be traced back to a lapse in communication.

There is no way around it. In order to be a great leader, one must also be a great communicator. Here are a few solid tips bosses can use to improve their communication skills and, at the same time, bolster productivity in the workplace.

Personalize Your Approach

Personalization is not only a powerful marketing technique. It can also be an effective tool for sharpening your communication skills. Some company leaders are of the mindset that work and friendship do not mix when it comes to bosses and employees. No one is saying that you have to treat staff to a night on the town or even befriend them, but if you don’t take the time to establish relationships and get to know your team on a personal level, your message may never fully get through to them.

Be Willing to Listen

As a manager, supervisor or other leadership authority, you probably spend a good portion of your day listening to what the people around you have to say. But are you really listening? Being a great communicator is much more than talking to people in a nice, friendly tone. It calls for keeping an ear open and sometimes sitting there and shutting up. We all have to start somewhere, and more often than not the first step in mastering the art of employee communications is simply knowing how to actively listen.

Know Your Stuff

Sure, you were lucky enough to secure that leadership role, but how well do you really know the position? Hopefully you know it inside and out because your degree of knowledge will ultimately determine how effective you are at communicating with employees. You can make all the threats and stern faces you want, but if you don’t know what you’re talking about, very few, if any, employees will take you seriously. No matter how good you are at it, you can only fake your expertise for so long. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to show and prove.

Let Go of That Ego

As a leader, one of the worst things you can do is allow your ego to grow bigger than the company itself. You can get a much better response from your team when you check that ego at the door and show a little compassion. Of course you don’t want to be the pushover who falls for anything, but leaders who are able to incorporate empathy in their communications have a greater chance of earning the trust and respect of their subordinates.

Don’t Beat around the Bush

Whether it involves dealing with employees, partners or customers, clarity will always be one of the most important elements of effective communications. You can’t afford to pussyfoot around any issues. Time is of the essence. When you know for a fact that you are communicating clearly, there is no confusion, so all excuses go directly out the window. Besides, you wouldn’t want anyone to waste your time with fluff talk, so why waste the time of your employees when productivity is on the line?

Simply brushing up on your communication skills can ensure that you receive a more dedicated effort from your workers. Is there anything we missed here? Feel free to share a tip or two in the comments.