All successful businesses have one factor in common: good communication between team members. While good communication is the key to success in any business industry, implementing it can be more challenging than it sounds.
After all, different people can have different ways to communicate. Exploring and changing all these different ways to align them with each other can be near impossible. Not to mention, miscommunication between team members can easily lead to demotivation and frustration of employees and can even lead them to quit their job.
However, team managers and leaders can prove significantly helpful in this regard. As a manager, treat communication as a skill instead of changing your team members’ communication methods. As a skill, communication between team members can be enhanced through different methods, some of which are explained below. Let’s take a look at these:
Prepare a Communication Toolkit
Communication toolkits are an easy way to connect with all team members. A communication toolkit usually comprises apps or software with open communication channels. The social media app WhatsApp is a common tool for informal communication among many teams. However, G-chat, hangouts, zoom, and skype are some formal examples.
In simple words, a team can decide on any of these applications or software to promote communication between team members. Team members can stay logged in to these applications during work hours so that any other team member can reach out if needed. They can also inform the manager when signing off if they need to cater to a personal emergency or their day off.
While such communication channels make it easy for remote workers, they also help improve communication between team members present at the workplace. Instead of getting up from their seats and going over to each other, team members can easily communicate online through the communication toolkit.
Schedule a Weekly Meeting
A weekly meeting with all team members encourages open communication. Such meetings don’t have to take too much time either. As a manager, you can keep these meetings short and to the point by updating current projects.
However, including casual communication topics such as asking everyone’s availability for an upcoming team lunch or mentioning upcoming employee birthdays can greatly ease communication for all team members and encourage them to participate.
Even if team members work remotely, scheduling a group video call can compensate for a weekly team meeting. Keep the online video meetings detailed to compensate for the lost time due to lack of in-person communication.
Greet and Chat
If you and your team members work in-office, there’s no better way to break the communication barrier than by greeting the team members and making some time to chat with them. By saying hello to their team members, managers can show that they are open to chatting and communicating.
Greeting and chatting with team members during the early hours of the day also lets managers get to know the team members and develop professional relationships with them. Managers can also utilize this time to get non-urgent project updates from the team members. Communicating early in the day also encourages good communication for the rest of the day.
Listen More than You Speak
Many managers and team leaders believe that their job is to give orders to the supervising team members. But that’s a mistaken belief. Team managers and team leaders are, in fact, responsible for the team members they supervise, and they must resolve all issues that become a hurdle to their team members completing their job effectively.
Managers that don’t listen to their team members demotivate their team members. Team members can eventually even stop communicating with such managers as they know they wouldn’t be heard and would have to resolve all issues independently. With open communication off the table with the manager, employees can also hesitate to communicate. Moreover, junior team members may not always be equipped to resolve issues due to lack of access or experience, resulting in the issue snowballing and causing a greater negative impact.
On the other hand, managers who actively listen to their team members and resolve their issues directly encourage communication between team members. By listening to their team members and helping them, they set an example for the rest of the team to follow.
As a manager, you can also ask your team members how they believe communication between team members can be improved or what more you can do to encourage good communication. You might gain some helpful insight into where your team stands in communication.
Providing training to employees encourages communication in three different ways:
Firstly, introverted or junior employees can be hesitant to speak their mind at work as work can have high stakes, and employees may be hesitant to look inexperienced. However, training provides a classroom-like environment where employees can openly ask what they don’t know or confirm their knowledge. Hence, training can provide these employees a safe environment to learn more at work.
Secondly, training can inform team members of the standards and practices for professional communication. Informing team members of these standards allows the team managers to develop consistent communication with their team members.
Finally, training allows managers to initiate discussion about the training and to seek feedback from their team members regarding the same. These discussions and feedback provide managers insight into why communication is lacking between the team members and how it can be improved. These discussions and feedback meetings also allow the managers to show their team members that they actively listen to them and are willing to take all effective measures to promote communication.
Last but not least, scheduling team events that allow team members to socialize also encourages good communication between them at work. Team events such as lunches or birthday celebrations help break the ice amongst the team members and between team members and managers by providing an informal setting. Informal and casual communication between team members can often establish a strong foundation to build professional communication.