From the educational system to the workplace, a team-based work style is increasingly becoming the norm. For employees, this means showing up in body and mind to contribute your fair share of creative ideas, feedback and knowledge. For employers, this means both leading and guiding the work team as well as participating in the ongoing communications process.
Why do you want to do this? In a nutshell, because statistics support improved employee contributions and lower turnover with enhanced inter-team communications. In this post, learn how to get the most effective communication from your business team using these easy techniques.
Your leadership style will set the tone for each member of the work team. The more accessible and involved you are with team communications, the easier it will be to monitor team-wide communications and ensure the project is proceeding as expected.
This includes setting boundaries. For example, if your work team includes both single professionals and parents with small children, you may need to set expectations that communications sent between certain hours will be answered promptly. However, communications sent outside of those hours should be evaluated for urgency, with two separate protocols for urgent and non-urgent emails.
In this way, employees can know what their communications responsibilities are and feel more comfortable staying easily accessible during their “on call” times.
Choose the Right Technology.
Technological tools today offer enhanced communications options over anything that was possible in the past. For example, instant messaging tools such as Slack and HipChat have all but replaced traditional email.
These tools permit your team to communicate one-to-one and group-wide in real time, keeping an ongoing log of messages and empowering employees to take charge of their own contributions and ideas.
Regularly Seek Your Team’s Feedback.
While this may not ever become the most comfortable facet of your management responsibilities, seeking regular feedback from your team is vital to keeping communications flowing productively.
Whether you choose to sit down once per quarter and talk about what is going well and what could be improved or you keep an open door policy for emerging communications issues or opportunities, the key is to create a two-way street that ensures communications are working well for every member of your team.
Act quickly on employee suggestions.
Let’s say a member of your team approaches the group with a suggestion to seek funding for a new emerging business opportunity. You think the idea is a good one. So now you have to decide how to respond.
In a case like this, whether you take action by moving to approve the application and assigning the employee with the idea to taking the lead on applying, calling a team meeting to discuss the merit of the idea, sending out a call for electronic votes or another response, taking fast action lets your team know their communications matter and encourages them to keep the discussion flowing. The more quickly you respond to ideas from your team, the more incentive this will provide for them to propose more ideas.
Make it clear you value their precious time.
If there is one thing even the most collaborative-minded work teams tend to resent, it is endless mandatory meetings. Studies show that meetings tend to be one of the least productive of all work tools, while real-time online communications using online tools can offer a high degree of productivity.
By showing your team you value their precious time and don’t want to waste it, you encourage each member of your team to communicate quickly and clearly when there is something important to say, suggest, ask or share, and to focus the ensuing time on delivering high productivity.
While perfecting the art of effective team communication is more of an organic experiment than an exact science, ith these five tools, you can look forward to more and better team-based communications both horizontally and vertically. Your team members will feel more valued and valuable. As a result, each member will feel more motivated to pull their weight in contributing to the team effort.