Team performance without meaningful communication?
A well-performing team just doesn’t just happen. It takes time and effort and one of the hardest things to get right is the communication between management, team members and respective teams. A lack of communication can create uncertainty that leads to stress and conflict, ending in lost productivity, failure to reach goals, unhappy staff and the loss of good performing staff. (For more information on building a team see Team Building articles).
Some of the barriers to meaningful communication between management and teams arise in these areas:
- Body language (posture and facial expressions)
- Words or language used - especially the use of jargon not understood by everyone
- Individual personality styles not explored and understood (please see DiSC article)
- Not all team members ‘kept in the loop’
- Roles and responsibilities of team members not clear
- Poor communication leading to the spread of rumours and gossip, which can create tension and affect employee morale and ultimately productivity
- Individuals holding on to information in the belief they have power over others
- Increased risk to the organisation, teams and individuals
- Lack of respect for each other
- Goals / targets not set, communicated or understood
- No agreed team code of conduct
- Getting the communication method wrong – verbal, written and/or visual? (see Communicating in the Workplace article)
- Vague email messages leaving the reader confused
- Unclear reporting structure between staff, management and leadership
- No confidence or the skills to give positive and negative feedback, so non-acceptable performance is not discussed during the course of work but kept until performance review day!
- Fostering clear, open and meaningful communication channels will help build strong relationships built on trust, honesty, openness and mutual respect
- Every member of the team is accountable and should be aware of the principles of the team’s Code-of-Conduct
- Give each other respect and undivided attention
- Develop good listening skills; these will be noticed and appreciated
- Be mindful of the way you prefer to communicate (e.g. face-to-face/written) and check if it is the best option for the situation
- Keep employees informed on what’s happening within the organisation – this will hopefully reduce / stop any rumours
Getting the communication strategy right is one of the hardest things to do, but engaging with each other openly and honestly and asking for feedback will let management and teams know whether they are getting it right. Ultimately the goal, as a team, is to perform by assisting the organisation achieve its planned objectives / targets.
Christine Brown is founder and managing director of Potential Unlocked, a market leader in the design of management systems that meet compliance and business requirements. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (double major in Political Science and Public Sector Management); RABQSA Lead Auditor, DiSC 5 Behaviours of a Cohesive Team accreditation; Everything DiSC accreditation, TAE 40110 Cert IV Training & Assessment & TAELLN 411.
Due to her extensive knowledge and experience, Christine is trusted by her clients for her patience, understanding and her ability to interpret compliance requirements in a straightforward, uncomplicated way. She regularly facilitates in-house and public workshops, sharing her knowledge of designing simple processes and systems, communicating effectively as an auditor, building and leading teams, and risk management.
Christine’s clients range from small business and start-ups to large organisations and government departments. Covering a broad range of industries, her clients include Boral, BAE Aerospace, Geobrugg, Tenix, West Australian Police, and the Victorian Ambulance Service.
Christine’s new initiative, The Business Performance Program, assists businesses with all major areas of business that are essential for success
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