Effective communication in the workplace is extremely important. Business relationships, especially those between employers and employees tend to be rocky or tense due to lack of communication skills, which usually results in misinterpretation, overreactions, and ultimately poor working relationships. Here’s a list of different things superiors can try in order to develop effective communication skills with subordinates:

1) Focus on Problems, Not Personalities

Focusing on personalities versus the actual problems needed to be solved will lead you nowhere. Whenever you are dealing with an issue, make sure you don’t make any implications on people’s character. Workplace issues always have a possibility of affecting people’s emotions, so the father you can stay from intensifying those emotions the better. Focus on problem solving and don’t make things personal. If you notice things are too touchy, give it 24 hours before communicating with the people involved in the issue.

2) Work with Individuals, Not Groups

Although you should not make things personal, sometimes speaking individually with everyone involved in whatever issue arose is better than having a general talk with all of them, especially if you will be providing constructive criticism. This kind of openness and lack of specificity can lead employees involved to feel embarrassed, confused, offended, and ultimately unresolved. Effective communication is about providing detailed information directly to each person you may wish to help improve in the workplace.

3) Face-to-face Communication

Communicating information to your employees will not be beneficial for them if you hide behind memo letters, emails, etc. Written words can sometimes be interpreted differently and can lead to misunderstandings. Make sure you take the time to meet with your subordinates and provide context to what you are communicating to them. Meeting in person will help both of you study each other’s demeanor and gather more feedback in terms of how information is being delivered and received. These kinds of meetings where both the employer and the employee can look at each other in the eye and talk things through will foster a healthier working relationship based on respect, honesty, and understanding.

4) Take Your Time Before Making a Decision

In a moment of crisis, one should not make executive decisions. When a problem arises in the workplace, take your time to study the situation before taking any action. When things are still in the heat of the moment, chances are you will not be able to think clearly. Give some time to have everyone, including yourself, calm down and truly reflect on how things could have been handled better. Once you reach that point of clarity then you can go ahead and communicate with everyone involved. Most likely your delivery will be stronger and your employees will also be more open to whatever you need to communicate to them.