In your position as team leader the quality of the relationship among your team members is perhaps one of your biggest areas of focus. A unified and communicative team produces the best results, but it’s not always easy to develop a united team.
People simply have different beliefs, backgrounds and social skills, all of which can prove challenging in your quest for an effective workflow.
Implement these effective strategies to foster good communication in your team:
1. Institute a courtesy policy or company culture – When employees are clear about the organization’s position on treating each other respectfully, they know how to behave and what is expected of them. Insisting on common courtesy is the most direct way to improve communication among co-workers.
• Outline your expectations about how they address others and respond in various situations.
• Engage them in discussions about the positive impact communicating effectively provides.
• Establish consequences for non-compliance with the company policy so they realize how important it is to be in accordance.
2. Cross train staff – A great way to improve communication among co-workers is allowing them to see and understand the elements of other people’s jobs and responsibilities.
• Having an appreciation for what happens on the other side inspires your team members to communicate without prejudice.
• Cross training allows team members to experience each other’s challenges, so they can communicate with an educated perspective as opposed to ignorance.
3. Incentivize effective communication – Incentives for team members encourage them to work harder, which in turn, brings back benefits to you. For example, when you see your team members offering excellent customer service, acknowledge their effort. Some examples of healthy communication are communicating with respect, giving/receiving honest feedback and communicating changes within projects.
• Structure a point system or a reward system for different elements of communication.
• Announce recipients of communication incentives so other team members are inspired to improve their level of communication.
• Remind team members that although you are incentivizing effective communication, it’s still their responsibility to participate in accordance with the company policies you have put in place, even if you’re not there to watch over them.
4. Have regular team meetings – When you bring all members of your team together, you have the opportunity to hear what everyone is saying and understand their positions and opinions on issues. In addition, it gives them a chance to have direct, open communication with each other.
• Ask members of the team how they feel about upcoming changes in the organization.
• Find out if they are having issues with others and encourage them to talk openly about their issues with their team members.
• Try to determine if there are areas of the organization’s operations that aren’t as effective as you would like and discuss how strengthening communication can turn things around.
As you already know, a team that isn’t capable of communicating effectively soon diminishes from a lack of cohesiveness and not sharing a common goal. To avoid having your organization experience that, start placing significant importance on how co-workers communicate and you will be sure to achieve smooth operations as a result.