With good teamwork, team leaders can develop successful teams that reach their business goals. Today, we will look at how communication affects teamwork and explore tweaks every organisation can make for more effective team communication.
When a team isn't functioning properly or collaborating well, it's easy for projects to fall apart. When team members don't communicate with one another, miscommunication happens frequently.
For example, if two team members don't communicate about a task that needs to be completed, two things can happen. It either doesn't get done at all because each person assumed their coworker was handling it, or they both complete the task, duplicating their work and wasting time. Neither is a good outcome.
To foster good communication skills, teams should:
Just because you are talking to someone, it doesn't mean they are listening to what you say. There's nothing more frustrating than telling someone what needs to be done or giving an important update on a project only to later feel like they didn't hear what you said at all.
Poor listening skills also hamper effective communication because it can lead to conflict when team members don't feel heard. Try using some of these team building tips to foster better communication:
You can improve teamwork and communication by creating a culture around transparency and accountability. Make openness a key part of your mission, vision and core values.
One good way to foster accountability is to use Promise-Based Management, where team members are guided by the psychological theory of Social Discipline. Coworkers make promises to one another in a public environment, so everyone can see what is expected of them in one transparent teamwork software program.
Embracing a culture of accountability and transparency also creates a work environment that fosters trust and rapport. When team members trust one another, they enjoy a better working relationship and do their best work together.
There's little more that can kill effective teamwork and communication than poorly managed conflict. However, conflict doesn't always have to be negative. We can learn from constructive conflict if we have the right attitude.
When communication problems happen (and they always do) the most important thing any person can do is keep an open mind and assume positive intent rather than getting defensive. It's human nature to be on the defense if we feel like someone is criticising us, so this takes practice.
It's also critical for the person starting the conversation to approach their coworker carefully, stating the issue and working towards a solution together rather than blaming. For example, how does 'Your report is late and now we don't have the information for the board meeting' sound vs. 'I noticed your report was a bit late. Did you have the information you needed or is your workload too high? What can we do to make sure it gets done on time next month?'
Some conflict situations require a third party, especially when staff members have different perspectives. Smart organisations make sure to hire and develop great team leaders that have excellent conflict management skills. The best team leaders can take conflict and turn it into a learning experience to learn from one another and even increase rapport and communication.
Wise organisations never ignore the importance of teamwork. Each member of the team can get things done individually, but the most successful organisations have excellent teamwork and practice robust, open communication. Make sure each team member is focused on the mission and vision to keep them moving in the right direction.
Building the strongest, most effective teams doesn't happen overnight. It's a dynamic process that requires discipline, dedication and intentionality about communicating and working together with a positive mindset. Start using these communication strategies and best practices today to build strong team communication skills and happy, engaged team members that enjoy working with one another.
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