Effective communication is an essential part of a team’s overall performance and success. Many difficult business issues can be weathered by teams that are communicating, while teams that struggle will find that even minor issues quickly increase in magnitude.
Thankfully communication is a learned skill so if you’re not happy with your team’s current level there are steps you can take to improve it. We’ve outlined below some tips and techniques to enhance the effectiveness of your team’s communication and their capacity for collaboration.
4 Ways to improve team communication
Lead by Example
You can’t expect employees to develop great communication skills if their leadership doesn’t set a strong example. This may be team-specific or a wider company matter to consider, but your employees should be able to see examples of good communication through observing the interactions people are having in the company. Managers should set a high bar by making sure to address any praise or concerns they have to employees directly and in a timely fashion. This helps to foster a culture of open communication that employees can feel comfortable using in return.
Team Building Communication Exercises
You’re probably a little sceptical seeing team building exercises on this list, which is understandable. However, they really can work – the key is to pick any team building exercise to complete (the specific exercise really doesn’t matter) and focus on the process of completing it, rather than on the outcome itself. Encourage your team to enjoy themselves, to find the silliness in the exercises that take themselves too seriously, and to get creative by thinking outside of the rules set for the exercise. It’s in these in-between spaces that you can really encourage new modes of thinking and relationship building which will ultimately lead to better communication throughout the workday.
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It’s very hard to build a culture of communication without trust from managers. When employees are questioned continuously on their work or receive criticism before they’ve had a chance to show what they can do, dissatisfaction and disengagement inevitably set in. You can boost team morale by giving employees the freedom to work to the best of their ability. With resource management software, managers can allocate tasks while affording employees the trust to complete them as and when needed. It’s a disciplined process that reduces the need for endless check-ins and the negative communication culture this can breed.
Develop a Rhythm
It’s important to remember that not every member of your team will respond positively to the same methods of communication. Some may enjoy twice-monthly personal meetings while others will require a steadier stream of feedback. Team leaders need to be attuned to this rhythm (within reason, of course), providing employees with development feedback alongside constructive criticism, when it feels most necessary to them. Most employees will also appreciate set review dates and opportunities to speak to team leaders one-on-one, where any concerns they have can be addressed quickly and personally, creating an agile and responsive working environment.
Excellent communication is worth striving for as it’s the backbone of every adaptable and successful team. Team leaders need to set the right example by implementing processes and channels of communications that are adaptable and encouraging to employees. Trust shouldn’t be overlooked since its lack can quickly lead to a breakdown in communication that harms morale and, in turn, productivity. Don’t forget that tech can help by relieving a lot of the pressure caused by managing resources and micromanaging.