"Communicate Effectively Within Teams"
Newsletter March 27, 2013
No matter what business you're engaged in, it's likely you are a member of one or more teams, or will be soon. Here are some ideas to help ensure that both you and the players on your team communicate well with each other.
1. Treat people like individuals
We all operate on the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) principle. So talk in terms of that persons’s interests. We all have our individual style – some speak quickly, some softly, etc.,
– are we mirroring their preferred speaking style when we communicate?
2. Make each team member responsible for the team product
When we cooperate within the team, we need to ensure we all have accountability for the final results. The fact of individual responsibility is not a given, it is a creation by the leader in the mind of the team members. The creation methodology is 100% communication of ideas, goals, concepts, values, etc., by the leader to the team.
3. Create a shared sense of purpose
"If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do" is probably not how we want to see our businesses progress. We want everyone moving forward together in the same direction, but how will they know what that is? They know because they are told, and not told once, but told over and over again. It is revealing how often leaders believe they have sufficiently communicated the key message or direction only to find, upon testing, that it has not really been fully absorbed. Try it with your own team – see how well they are all tracking a long the desired direction.
4. Make all goals team goals
Clarity of purpose makes all the difference to achieving desired outcomes. "We own the world we create" means that when the whole team feels ownership of the goal, the likelihood of that goal being achieved, goes up dramatically. The leader needs to motivate the team to take ownership, each to their part, but everyone committed to the required outcome. This is pure persuasion power and this is the critical tool in the leader’s toolbox.
5. Share the glory, accept the blame
Praise and recognition are precious. They are so precious that leaders sometimes think they have to hoard them up, rather than share them around. We all respond to recognition and appreciation. If we are told precisely what we did that was well done, the chances of us repeating that performance every time, goes up dramatically. Everyone makes mistakes. We ask people to step up out of their comfort zone and try new things. When they fail, how we treat that failure is closely watched by all in the team. If we criticise those who try and fail, then everyone concludes it is better not to try at all. On the other hand, if we encourage people, even if they fail at first, and if we take the heat, they recognize our commitment to them, and they will return our loyalty in spades.
6. Get involved, stay involved
Delegating is a learnt art and yet many leaders are more practised in "dumping" work, rather than delegating. Just handing over responsibility for a task at the beginning and
then simply inspecting the result at the end is dumping. Our job is to communicate the "why" of the project, and to sell to the individual why it is going to build their career. We should make a point of checking that the project is on track. There are few things more distressing, than finding a project that has really taken off, is literally flying along, but all in the wrong direction
7. Mentor and coach team members
We can’t do everything and be everywhere at the one time, so we need to exercise ‘le
verage" through others to get the work done well. This means developing those who report to us, so that they can take on greater and greater responsibility for important tasks. The communication of their role in this process and the focus on building the
ir careers are necessary skills that leaders must master.
8. Take every opportunity to build the team's confidence
When clients or customers meet members of our team, be it in a business or social context, they judge our companies through those interactions. If we meet a very sharp, articulate, poised and confident person, we come away with a very positive view of that person and that company. People grow through praise, recognition and trust and the leaders job is to look for those opportunities to spur that growth. Success is the transfer of enthusiasm and belief and the leader must ooze both, if the team are to follow.