Have you ever been in a situation where you know that there's an elephant in the room, but no one is addressing the issue? Or when a group of people is sitting, working together, but they barely speak with each other? The reason for such an unpleasant atmosphere is the lack of team communication.
Team communication is an important aspect of any business. It is one of those things that can make your business or break it. So, if you want to have an efficient and successful company, you better make sure that your team communication is outstanding.
According to a research made by Weekdone companies who have implemented productive internal communication are 4.5 times more likely to have highly engaged employees and 20% more likely to have fewer people leaving them.
Quality team communication is something worth investing, and you need to start thinking about it immediately. Although there is no unique recipe for good communication in every team, there are some hacks for effective team communication that should put you on the right track. So, let's get back to the basics learn 6 things about team communication that will help you make things better...
1. Remove barriers between managers and employees
Every team needs to have a hierarchy. Whether you call yourself a manager, team leader or boss, you are the one who is in charge. Such a relationship can be tight and unpleasant, especially if you need to tell someone that they are not doing their job good enough. But, it can also be a correlation of open discussions where everyone can be honest and speak their mind. It is up to you and the attitude you have.
If you want to have open communication with the team, you should encourage your people to:
speak freely, and have their own opinion about particular situation or issue in the company,
ask any question, and get an honest answer,
say their worries, and get comfort or a cold shower if their concerns are justified.
Such a relationship is not always a pleasure, and it is quite demanding to maintain it, but in a long run, it is an excellent investment. Open communication will increase trust among team members, create a good mood, and make everyone less tense.
2. Choose the most efficient communication tools
There are many different ways to communicate with your team, but we're suggesting only two - use an online tool and have periodical "let's all get together" type of meeting.
Online tools are super useful, but you need to choose wisely. Email is a good one, but emails can be overwhelming; employee newsletter worked 15 years ago, and it's ineffective nowadays; company chat is just too annoying. So, the question is - which one is the best? There is no correct answer, but we suggest that you give an internal blog a try. It's a tool that you can use to share all kind of information with your team. It is not distracting, it is extremely easy to use so everyone can join and engage in conversation, creating posts and providing answers in the comments. An internal company blog can really open that new, transparent, two-way communication channel that will keep the team together.
Our other suggestion is to have an occasional live meeting. We know that everyone is saying that meetings are a waste of time, and we're not saying that you should do on a daily basis. But, from time to time, it is great to gather everyone and have a face-to-face gathering. Live contact is still the best way to communicate with people. Such meetings don't have to be formal, you can organize them as team building weekends, or casual Wednesday lunch where everyone can sit together and just hang out.
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3. Be a good listener
A core of good communication is learning how to listen and understand what other people are saying. This is the only way to figure out what the others actually want. Once you master the craft of listening, your managerial skills will go to the roof. Also, it will increase the level of trust your employees have in you.
Another thing that you can do is to make your team members pay more attention to someone's opinion. For example, during joint sessions, only one person should be talking while others should listen and focus. Only when that person finishes speaking, the others should speak, make comments, and give their opinion. Such behavior will make your team members feel appreciated, and communication flow will be much better.
4. Be aware of differences in communication styles
We're all different, and we all communicate in our own way. This doesn't mean that we're speaking a different language, it means that we're expressing our opinions and emotions in various manners. While some prefer informal conversation, other like strict forms and procedures, and there's even some of us who can express themselves only in writing.
We're not saying that you should have special treatment for every single person, but you should recognize if someone has specific affections and let them use that media the most. The essential of successful team communication is to let everyone be themselves and use tools and communication channels that they are comfortable with, whenever possible.
5. Make all information transparent and available
If you want to build a positive atmosphere of mutual trust in your team, you should make all critical information available and open. Let everyone know what are the team and individual goals, discuss important decisions with the team, have transparent wages system, and keep everyone in the loop. Your crew should have a clear picture of what is happening in the company.
Tip: A great place to publish all of the information and keep them in-house is an internal blog. Use different post categories to mark company info.
6. Provide some kind of "Monthly News" on team accomplishments
People enjoy being appreciated, so show them that you care. Start some sort of team news (in your internal blog, or some other place where everyone can access) and say it loud what your company and your people have done in the past month. It will show them that you noticed their effort (or lack of it) and that you value their work.
Such practice will also show the team what the other have been doing. It is often a case that people are not aware of what exactly the others are working on, so it's an excellent opportunity to share such insights.
Maybe you already knew all these things about team communication, but it's good to hear them again, and again. They are the essential of the quality work environment, and it's not bad to read it all over from time to time. So, now that you have done your recap, go and make your team communication excellent!