If you’ve ever worked for any sort of company you know that it can sometimes be hard to communicate with executive level leadership. Oftentimes, it seems intimidating when they are really just like you and me. One of the biggest goals for executives at any level it is to figure out how to better communicate with their team. Without this communication, it can lead to a toxic work environment that employees don’t want any part of.
In this post, we share a few ways that a VP of Finance can better communicate with their team.
Face-to-face time is key to fostering any team relationship. Planning a visit to satellite offices or hosting a team offsite once a quarter is a great way to engage way to engage with remote employees. This helps employees on the same team build a personal connection with one another. By doing this, executives can get down to the same level as their teammates, cutting out any intimidation. Bonds can be made on a personal level, which in turn, strengthens your professional relationship.
One ask of employees from executive leadership is complete transparency in communication. They want to know what is going on within their department and within the company, especially in light of any changes. The more transparent you can be with your employees, the more your employees will trust you. Transparent communication gives employees peace of mind so they won’t have anything to worry about at the company. This level of comfort is important when it comes to fostering a company culture.
Go beyond just listening
While listening is the most obvious communication skill, as you climb the corporate ladder, listening evolves to become resolving concerns, complaints, and questions. The more senior a position, the more they are expected to listen, advocate, and inquire on behalf of their team. Executives need to know how to inquire to understand the other person’s position while also advocating their own opinion. Employees want to know that their managers—and executives—will advocate for them if need be. Team members want to feel like their manager cares about them and will actually stand up for them and have their back. This helps to solidify the bond between executives and their team members.
Know your audience and keep it simple
When a VP of Finance is talking to their team, they aren’t talking to other executives. Instead, they are talking to their employees. Executives are the face of a company, so oftentimes, it is up to them to speak “on message”. But when they are talking to other team members, they aren’t expected to talk “on message”. It is up to executives to know their audience and how best to communicate with them. By understanding your audience, you can prepare any message you need to deliver. A tip for any executive is to outline three key messages or theme to frame communications. Don’t overthink it either; keep your messages simple, understandable, focused, and effective.
Consider tone and cadence
Every department within a company has its own culture, goals, and personality — and that’s something to consider when you address your department. And sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. If you’ve ever dealt with anyone over email versus in person, we know that someone can sound different on those two channels. The challenge is to convey the same tone in every way you communicate. That being said, you want to read the situation to know how to deliver the message at home. This includes the channel of communication. Use your instincts to determine what medium would be the best; would it be best over Slack, email, or phone? That is up to you to decide.
Encourage career development
Though you may not be in charge of your team’s career development, encourage other managers or team leads to encourage their employees to seek career development. This could be getting a mentor, widening your job scope, or learning new skills to aid in professional development. Career development may already be a priority for the company, but if it’s not, take the opportunity to make it one. Make your workplace a place where employees would want to stay and grow their careers. As an executive, you have the power to influence that decision and guide your team to success.
When it comes to executives communicating with their teams, they need to keep in mind who their audience is and what their role is. They need to figure out the best way to serve their team to make for a better workplace for everyone. This can be done through career development, transparency, and face-to-face communication. These tactics, along with many more will make a world of difference when communicating with a team.