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Tried and Tested Team Communication Strategies to Live By

Team Communication Strategies
Working as a team to successfully achieve the goals and objectives, requires effective team communication strategies. This article will give you some very simple and meaningful insight into how you can improve team performance and output by effective communication. Read on...
Shalu Bhatti
Last Updated: Dec 21, 2017
What is a team without coordination... and how can team members coordinate without a team leader? A team leader is a person who leads the team while giving each and every team member the right to be a leader in themselves. He not only possesses good leadership and guidance skills, but is also a good communicator. In the words of James Humes, "The art of communication is the language of leadership." If the team has an effective leader who can communicate the goals and objectives of the team, in synchronization with the goals and objectives of the individual members through effective two way communication, then there is nothing that can stop the team from succeeding. So, what are some effective strategies for fostering good team communication? The next section discusses all this and more...
Why Does a Team Require Effective Communication Strategies?
Team leader and employee
You would know the answer to this question if you have been a part of a team where there were no effective communication strategies! I was a part of such a team, and let me tell you what it was, to be in that team. The team leader was busy taking care of other "important things". We were told what is expected of us, but I don't remember anyone coming to us team members and asking what we expected of them. There was hardly any "recognition" for your efforts, but if you have not met your targets, there will be a "noticeable discussion" to make you feel that it is because of "you" that the team couldn't win!!!
It is very important to understand that when you are working in a team, as a team leader, there are others who take you as their mentor. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure that your "lack of effective communication" shouldn't be the cause of unmet targets and delayed goal completion. From the example I gave you in the previous paragraph, do you think that a team like that would ever prove to be a happy and productive one? Most definitely NOT! Which is why we need effective team communication strategies to channelize all the individual efforts in a team, towards the overall team efficiency and productivity. This will help in the following ways.

☞ Enable clarity in terms of what is expected.

☞ Motivational discussions will boost the enthusiasm of the team, which would eventually lead to better performance.

☞ Prevent unnecessary delays and chaos in the team due to miscommunication, and enable timely completion of tasks.

☞ Effective communication includes effective listening. This would enable timely addressing of issues arising within the team, which can prevent further conflict and delays in the team.

☞ Appreciation, motivation, and acknowledgment is something that you must do, to keep the team members enthusiastic about their jobs. This can only be done by communication.
Effective Team Communication Strategies
So, what are some effective strategies that you can adopt in your team in order to achieve your set goals? When working as a team, remember that you are dealing with different individuals with different styles of working and understanding. What may seem right to one team member may seem to be inappropriate to another team member. Another point to be noted is, that to work together as a 'team' it is important to meet deadlines and work with complete focus and coordination, because each and every task is related to the overall goal achievement. Communication comes into play when each and every member must be conveyed their task, their point of contact, and the deadline to finish their individual task, so that they can be united for the complete functioning of the team. Many a time, lack of communication, or rather the 'assumption' that things have been communicated and perceived in the right manner when they actually are not, can create a lot of chaos and unnecessary delays in the team. For this, implementing certain team communication strategies is a must. These are discussed as under.
Use Reliable Channels of Communication
Two way Communication
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." ~ George Bernard Shaw
Communication is a two way process. Only passing the information is not enough, you need to make sure that the information you have passed is also understood in the same way as you intended. The human mind can perceive the same thing in different ways. So, keep the language simple, leaving no room for misinterpretations and use appropriate channels to communicate the information and receive relevant feedback.
An example for the same would be this. To communicate change in strategies or deadline dates, you can send out a notice on the internal network files which are easily accessed by everyone in your team. You can also hold a meeting for the same to make sure that everyone is aware of the changes and has understood the changes that need to be brought in the team working strategy. It is important to hold face-to-face meeting with the team members at least twice a week to make sure that everything necessary has been communicated and understood.
A Team has No 'I', It Has Only 'We'
Team success
"The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual." ~ Vincent Lombardi
Yes, it is the combination of individual efforts of each and every team member that contributes to the overall success of the team. Therefore, it is always important to communicate in terms of 'we' and not 'I'.
This is because the way you communicate also influences the minds of the team members. Addressing concerns and important notices as a 'team' and not as a group of individuals is an approach that should always be followed to remind team members that no one is differently valued than others, and that everyone is 'equally' a part of the success of the team.
Welcome Feedback and Suggestions
Employee talk to boss
"Teams do not go physically flat, they go mentally stale." ~ Vincent Lombardi
Each and every person in the team is undoubtedly good at his or her work and that is the reason why they are there, right? Many times, the monotony of following the leader and doing what is asked to be done, mentally stales the individual spark that can actually contribute to a remarkable idea, which in turn, can add on to the success of the team.
Which is why, another effective team communication strategy would be to give each and every team member a chance to voice their feedback and suggestions at any point of time. For this purpose, feedback forms and suggestion boxes should be introduced and someone should be appointed to analyze them periodically.
Everyone Gets to Participate
Team work
"Strength lies in differences, not in similarities." ~ Stephen Covey
... and a successful team is the one that can tap all these differences and unite them together to achieve a similar objective. For this, active and equal participation of each and every team member is a must. The fact that each and every person has different perception, can create problems at times, but it can also be a plus point.
Total participation can lead to identification of a certain approach by one team member which wasn't identifiable by others. Not only does this approach pave way for new advances, it also brings in a sense of belonging and importance among the team members, which definitely helps in improved unity, coordination and effective team work.
Appreciate Openly but Criticize Alone
Boss congratulating to employee
Communicating with the team members in terms of appreciation or criticism should also be done in the right manner. Always remember the key rule, 'appreciate openly, but criticize when alone'. Remember, every individual has other aspects of life that he or she is dealing with, which could intentionally or unintentionally, affect their performance on the professional front. Therefore, when it comes to appreciation, praise the contribution of the team member (also acknowledging the contribution of each and every team member) out in the open. Although, when it comes to criticism, make sure that instead of blaming the 'one person' out in the open, hold an individual meeting and try to understand the underlying causes. Be a good listener and offer help if possible. Because the contribution of each and every team member counts, make sure that frequent meetings or informal outings are held so that the team members are open and comfortable enough to share their goals, both professional and personal. This helps in stronger bonding and better understanding, both of which are important for stronger team building.
I would like to remind you all again, that though a team is one, it comprises various different individuals with different emotions, understandings, and goals. Therefore, whenever you communicate within your team, make sure that you keep the information as simple, polite, and to the point as possible. Everyone in the team should be clear of their responsibilities and duties, thereby abiding by what is expected of them. It is the responsibility of the team leader to channelize each and every individual effort towards the goal achievement and organizational success. So, make sure that you apply these communication strategies and techniques to keep the communication simple, effective, and efficient. All the best!