Communication is the glue that holds an organization together. Successful companies have an effective communication strategy and employees that are skilled communicators. Finding ways to improve team communication and thereby team productivity is always top of mind for great leaders and managers.
In the workplace, communication is much more than just face to face conversations. Technology plays a significant role and must be accounted for in your strategy. The following four tips will help you improve team communication.
1. Make communication a significant part of your role
With communication being such a pivotal part of your team’s success, it’s paramount to set an example for what good communication looks like and utilize strategies that grease the wheels for effective team communication. These include being an active listener, having an open door policy and giving detailed, constructive feedback.
Active listening means making a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, the complete message being communicated. A good way to ensure you are truly listening rather than waiting to speak is to paraphrase what was said before diving into your point. All team members should be active listeners.
Having an open door policy means making sure your team knows that they can come to you, as well as their teammates, at any time to ask for help, voice concerns or bring up new ideas. This creates a welcoming and transparent environment that goes a long way in building trust and bringing the best ideas to the forefront. Note that removing physical obstacles between you and your team also creates a sense of mutual trust and encourages the open exchange of ideas.
Lastly, giving your team detailed, constructive feedback, rather than simply saying “this is wrong” or “not good enough” is key. You need to clearly communicate what needs to be changed and provide actionable steps for making those changes.
2. Clarify roles and responsibilities
To improve team communication from the get-go, establish what each person on your team is responsible for and give clear instructions when assigning tasks or projects. Unclear instructions and miscommunications are the root cause of many problems in the average workplace.
If a team member is unsure what is required of them and doesn’t feel comfortable enough to come talk to you about it, it spells disaster. Set up regular progress checks where your team can ask questions and address any issues to keep everyone on track and informed.
3. Be aware of your team’s communication patterns
Everyone communicates and processes new information differently. Visual people tend to prefer written forms of communication (email or cloud-based software) while auditory people benefit more from a phone call, a video chat or face-to-face meetings.
Being aware and accommodating of these preferences allows you to better connect with your team and shows that you value them as individuals (which creates employees who are willing to go above and beyond for the company). Try providing your team with a Real-Time Communication platform so that they can choose whichever mode of communication best fits the situation.
In addition, don’t overlook formal communication training. Courses can help your team improve on a variety of skills, including verbal, written and face-to-face communication, persuasion, relationship building, public speaking and more.
4. Provide effective communication technology
Different types of workers need different tools to communicate effectively.
- Remote and deskless workers: These workers need a way to collaborate in real-time. Video chat, mobile messaging and cloud-based collaboration tools are essential.
- Office workers: While face-to-face meetings are necessary, not every conversation needs to be in person. Team messaging is great for handling day-to-day communications and coordinating with other departments.
Note that for both deskless and desk-based workers, email is inefficient and unreliable. According to a report from Mckinsey & Company, the average team member spends over a quarter of the day in their inbox and nearly 20% of the day is spent chasing information or seeking someone to help with specific tasks. Deskless workers rarely use email and desk workers are bombarded with so many messages that information gets lost. And don’t even attempt to hold real-time conversations or collaborate over email.
Instead, focus on team messaging applications that integrate into your work collaboration apps like Google Drive and Box, and workflow apps like ServiceMax and Salesforce. With your team on a single communication platform, everyone stays on the same page with conversations and all the relevant information kept in the same place.
Improve Team Communication for Business Success
Effective communication has a direct effect on company culture, resulting in:
- Minimized conflict
- Increased productivity
- Higher employee engagement
- Reduced turnover
By applying these tips, you can better connect your team, improve communication, and make the workplace a more enjoyable and rewarding place to be.