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A Manager’s Guide to Creating a Culture of Communication

Having a culture of open and transparent communication within any team can have very positive effects on its function. Open communication can help foster trust among team members by creating a safe environment where they can share their thoughts and ideas. It can also boost the team’s productivity, creativity, and innovation. Above all, if practiced regularly this can create a continuous feedback loop that can help the team to improve, leading to better decision-making and smoother achievement of their goals. This combined with values of honesty and support can enable managers to build hyper-successful teams.

Then again, it is important to understand that communication is a two-way street and sometimes growing teams and managers fail to look at it that way. The team lead or the manager would always be the one to provide feedback and consider it to be sufficient. Instead, managers should engage in open dialogue and actively seek feedback from their team members. This will help them understand how they are perceived and identify any concerns their team members have. Not only will this activity make them more effective in their roles but when each teammate will feel that they have a say in how the team is run and that their opinions are valued, their motivation and commitment to the team will increase massively.

For managers, we can identify the following areas upon which they can measure their perception within their teams and seek improvement:

  • Team Happiness: Do their team members enjoy working together under their management?
  • Growth & Upskilling: Do managers provide enough opportunities for growth and development for their team members?
  • Leading through an example: Do managers manifest the qualities in themself that they expect of their team members?
  • Support: Do managers provide the right support to their team members in their work?
  • Open to feedback: How open are the managers about their shortcomings or listening to their team members about their own mistakes?
  • Transparency: Do the managers communicate proactively and transparently?
  • Culture: Does the manager create an inclusive culture for everyone in their team to thrive?
  • Recognition: Does the manager puts an effort to recognize their team members when they do good work or just focus on the criticism?
Areas of impact in teams for a manager

Feedback Form Template

Now to put these in practical terms here is how someone can use the following template to get feedback from their team members

Instructions for the respondents:

Keep the survey confidential and anonymous, so people can comfortably respond. Illustrate the intent of the survey which is to get feedback from people for self-improvement. Don’t confine the responses to p options or a grading system. Keep the answers open and let people express their sentiments. Here is an example:

Sample communication for sharing Manager feedback survey

The questionnaire

For the questions of the feedback survey, it is a good idea to give examples of positives and negatives that can help the team members understand better what they should be looking for in terms of support from their managers. It is also a good idea to enable the shuffle option in the questionnaire if possible to randomly sort questions to remove fatigue bias for some questions.

  • Are you happy or feel proud to be a member of your squad/ team? Do you feel connected with your peers?
  • Does <<the manager>> provide you with enough opportunities for growth and advancement in your career? Examples can be discussion around opportunities or asking you to practice certain things that can improve you as a professional. If this has happened highlight something that you disliked or liked about this.
  • Does <<the manager>> inspire or motivate you to do your best work? If yes, How? Example: Either by his example or sharing inspirations or talking with you or something else.
  • How would you describe the level of support offered by <<the manager>>? Example: Does <<the manager>> support you in your well-being, work challenges, work-life balance challenges, growth challenges, etc? You can also mention areas where you may have felt a lack of support from <<the manager>> and would like that to improve.
  • How comfortable do you feel in giving feedback to <<the manager>> or sharing anything that you don’t feel good about? What is <<the manager>>’s general response when you have shared something difficult with him before? Do you feel that you are treated fairly without bias?
  • How would you rate transparency in terms of messaging, policy sharing, and general communication from <<the manager>>? What could be improved?
  • Describe your squad’s culture in fewer than 20 words. You can also mention if you don’t see any culture or a culture you would like the team to strive for. Are you encouraged to lend others a helping hand if they are stuck with some task or take help from others and be comfortable about it?
  • How strongly do you feel valued at work? Does <<the manager>> recognize your good work or exclusively focus on criticizing?
  • How likely would you recommend a close friend, family member, or someone you care about to work in the <<the manager>>’s team?
  • [BONUS Question] What is something <<the manager>> can start doing, do more of, or stop doing to support you to continue doing great work?
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