Clear and effective communication between managers and their teams is the lifeblood of any organization. Teams that communicate well are productive and their broader organizations benefit from more consistent forward progress. Teams that don’t spin their wheels and, because it often goes undiagnosed, their organizations suffer.
In my experience, great communication starts at the 1-on-1 level, the relationship every manager has with each of their direct reports. Let’s face it, managing a team is hard. Especially when you consider the dramatic recent shifts in the attitudes and expectations of the workforce.
According to Gallup’s report State of the American Workplace, most workers want:
- Their work to have meaning and purpose
* To use their talents and strengths to do what they do best every day
- To learn and develop
* Their job to fit their life
This means that managers of today have their work cut out for them.
I know from experience that managing people is hard. There have been several times in my career where I was an ineffective manager. When I reflect on those times, the thing often missing was a strong understanding of my employees. Without a relationship with the person, it’s easy to default to managing tasks and numbers rather than people and outcomes. Not surprisingly, that setup rarely brings out a person’s best work.
On the other hand, when I look back to my better moments as a manager, a lot had to do with the connection I felt with the people on my team. We operated with a high degree of trust and generally over-communicated.
Keeping employees engaged is a real problem for managers of most large companies today and one that costs the US economy $500 billion annually (according to Gallup). SoapBox, one of the companies in our portfolio, aims to solve this and help organizations function more effectively. I wrote about SoapBox driving peak performance in the enterprise back in 2015. Since then, they’ve doubled the size of their business, and are now expanding their focus to include optimizing communication between managers and employees. They believe that through enabling clear communication, accountability and regular follow up, managers and employees are more likely to stay aligned and meet their short and long term goals.
SoapBox has developed a product called GoodTalk to help managers and employees build stronger relationships and become more aligned. GoodTalk Beta launched on ProductHunt today and we’re excited to see how it evolves. Congratulations to the SoapBox team on the culmination of many months of hard work.