How do I overcome my communication issues?

I am kind of an introverted person and I admit I have communication issues.

I am manager of a team and new to my company.

I have a feeling that my manager is not happy with me. He did not say anything, but I believe this because I am not a high profile person and I don't like to show up and talk a lot.

Are there certain things I can do to become more high profile, and be able to communicate with the manager more?

I see other managers go talk to him for what happens in every single meeting and gossiping, and he seems to like that!

Currently we have 1-on-1 meetings weekly.

Sometimes I try to find any reason to go to his office to tell him I am here and working, but I feel this cheap. Is there a better way to tell him I am doing work and communicate with him in a more professional way?

  • VTC... unclear what a "high profile" person is or why that is significant for your boss. – Dan Feb 25 at 19:53
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    Suggest reopening: sometimes Workplace can help people by refining their questions to something answerable. Refined, this question could be useful to the community. – O. Jones Feb 25 at 20:35

First of all, you should not assume that your supervisor has a problem with you if he does not tell you.

There are several things you could change. In a managing position, communication is one of the most important tools. You can only give information to other people, like your manager but also your team, if you communicate with them. If you have a problem with this, you should work on it.

On the point of having a high profile. I think you think you have to go into the company's rumor mill to build a high profile. I don't think that's the case. There's nothing wrong with getting to know the people you work with. After all, you spend most of the day with these people and it can be very helpful to understand them personally and understand their motives.

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I'm interpreting your question to mean "how I can I improve my communication skills?" As you know, many job postings require "excellent written and spoken communication skills". That's not just boilerplate. It's tremendously meaningful.

There are a few things you can do explicitly to teach yourself.

  1. Don't put yourself down too much. You probably are doing well. Remember that your co-workers, your boss, and your team really want you to succeed. Also remember that it takes time to become work-friends with people.

  2. Ask for feedback from your fellow managers. You can say something like, "Hey Sally, I'm a new manager here and I'm learning to communicate as well as I can inside this company. Do you have any suggestions for how I can improve in this area?" Remember that people love being asked for advice.

  3. Maybe you can find a co-worker to be a mentor to you. It's worth a try.

  4. Practice communicating. Find examples of what you consider good email messages, and study them a bit. Try to make your messages that good. (This takes some work, but it's not wasted work.) Do the same for presentations in meetings of any length.

  5. Look for a club called Toastmasters. They have the mission of helping people learn to speak in public, and can be a tremendous boost.

Your personality, you say, is a bit introverted. Please remember that does not mean you can't communicate well. Many introverted people do a great job communicating. What it does mean is this: you gather strength from being alone with your thoughts. Other people gather strength from being with other people. Your personality is just as good as other peoples', and it's yours. Claim it proudly.

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  • Great answer. Here's a link to Toastmasters International: toastmasters.org – Caleb Feb 25 at 18:29
  • Thanks, I added the link to my answer. – O. Jones Feb 26 at 1:22

I have a feeling that my manager is not happy with me. He did not say anything, but I believe this because I am not a high profile person and I don't like to show up and talk a lot.

If your manager isn't happy with you but hasn't said anything, then it seems to me that it's your manager who needs to improve his/her communication skills.

Still, maybe you're picking up a vibe (btw, listening to and observing other people are just as important communication skills as speaking) that there's something wrong. If so, ask about it at your next meeting: "...So, I'm not big on small talk -- I'm more of a direct communicator. Even so, I want to become part of the team, and I'm afraid I might not be doing that so well yet. Can you give me any pointers on how to improve?" That'll start a conversation where either you'll get some good advice on fitting in better, or you'll get some reassurance that everything is fine.

Any good manager would be happy with someone who's self-aware enough to identify their own weak spots and open enough to ask for help with them.

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