How to help team leaders communicate

How effective are your managers at communicating with their teams? Want to read a guide written for managers to help them improve?

You’re in luck, I’ve got a free one to share with you, plus a deal to save you 10% off PRWeek’s Strategic IC conference in November.

The guide has been published by Tom Stevenson, Director of Communications at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust here in the UK.

He’s written for the All Things IC blog to share how they have been working with their team leaders to help them communicate better.

Note in my first sentence I wrote communicating with, not to their teams. There’s a big difference and employees know when they’re being communicated at rather than with.

I frequently observe this when auditing organisations. The biggest clue is the absence of employee voice or two-way channels.

How big is the issue of line manager communication? Well this year’s State of the Sector survey by Gatehouse Group revealed:

Lack of line manager communication skills (52%) is the single most pressing challenge facing IC pros today.

You can read the whole report online, but this particular set of stats stood out for me from the 2017 survey. These are the areas cited by professional communicators as barriers to internal comms success:

Do these resonate with you? What are the biggest barriers to internal communication success in your company? As ever, you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

So if we know all this, what can we do about it?

Here’s Tom to bring us up to speed on what he’s been up to…

How to help team leaders communicate better

At Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust we have lots of great team leaders working at many different levels; from local team leads managing just a few people through to divisional directors with teams of over 1,000.

Staff survey scores have shown a wide variation in how people think their senior managers communicate, and we know many people simply define a senior manager as their boss, regardless of their pay grade.

So to help, we’ve written a guide to team communications.

The guide covers tips on content, tone and channels with a quick self-assessment designed to prompt leaders to stretch themselves and try new things, and a quick template plan for people to map out what they do now and fill some of the gaps with new stuff.

It encourages team leaders to think about their audience, particularly when they cover big staff groups; and to involve them in agreeing what communications works best for them.

Contents of the guide are:

  • Objectives and benefits of good internal communications
  • Whose responsibility is it?
  • Knowing your audience
  • Visibility
  • Listening and discussing
  • Content and presentation
  • Language and tone of voice
  • Localising wider trust news
  • Communicating bad news
  • Recognising success
  • Your communications tool bag
  • Embracing technology
  • Self-assessment – Where are you now?
  • Action plan for the future

Further reading: Download the guide.

Post author: Tom Stevenson. You can find Tom on LinkedIn. He’s also on Twitter @T0mStevenson.

Thank you for allowing me to publish your guide via the All Things IC blog Tom. The search terms practitioners use to reach my site reveal it’s a topic many are grappling with.

I think it’s a cracking guide, I like the fact there are calls to action in it for the managers. They are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and create an action plan to put some of the techniques and tips into practice.

How good are your line managers at communicating? Do you have a story to share with my readers? If so, please see my guest article guidelines and do please get in touch with your ideas.

Learn about internal communication

If you want to learn about internal communication, then you’re welcome to attend one of my All Things IC Masterclasses. You can also book me for 1-2-1 coaching including my VIP Day so we can focus on you.

Upcoming Masterclasses to choose from:

My monthly training courses take place in Covent Garden, London. If you’re a CIPR or IoIC member, you can earn CPD points/hours by attending.

See the Masterclasses website for full information and to save your place.


Thank you for stopping by,


First published on the All Things IC blog 7 September 2017. Updated 2018.



  1. Amandeep says:

    Hello Rachel,

    I am an IC professional based in India. I found your resources extremely helpful. I was wanting to know whether you hold virtual trainings as well?


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