Every business owner wants a dream team – that group of employees that coordinate, work well together, and keep everything running smoothly.
But kinks in communication can quickly lead to strife among coworkers and a drop in productivity.
If you’re looking for better team communication among your employees, here are eight foolproof ways to improve communication and collaboration at work!
1. Encourage Feedback
It’s important to think of yourself not just as a boss, but as a mentor. When a team member hands in an assignment that needs some work, don’t simply scribble off a note to hand back.
Taking time to give constructive, detailed feedback opens the door for further communication and understanding. Instead of creating a dynamic of boundaries and rules, create a workplace based on mutual respect.
Creating two-way conversations not only creates a better outcome for that project, it also lays the foundation for increased understanding and better work on future projects.
2. Keep an Open Door Policy
An article in Forbes outlined the changes that happen in an environment with open doors. When team members are operating behind closed doors, it psychologically creates barriers within the workplace.
Keeping an open door policy encourages communication in passing and let’s other team members know it’s okay to come in and discuss issues as they arise, rather than waiting.
3. Encourage Digital Communication
Face to face communication is important, but there are benefits to digital forms of communication. Email archiving, for instance, allows recipients to go back through email chains to find details and instructions.
For businesses that have multiple offices or locations, online communication can keep people at all locations on the same page. Even within the same office space, emails can be quickly fired off instead of trekking around looking for a coworker to ask a question or deliver a message.
The trick here is to balance in-person conversations with those that would benefit from a quick answer or a written record for later use.
4. Be Clear on the Role Each Person Plays
You want your team to be a well-oiled machine. Machines work because a series of individual parts do their jobs to achieve the overall outcome.
In the same way, you need to make sure your team knows and understands their roles and responsibilities. If people feel their toes are being stepped on or aren’t sure what exactly is required of them, they’re likely to perform less well.
Take time to clarify job roles, what the expectations and functions of each role are, and how the role directly interacts with the others.
5. It’s All About Team Spirit
If your team feels like one, they’ll perform like one.
You’re looking for a spirit of cooperation instead of competition. When coworkers function as individuals doing their own jobs, you will see less communication between them.
When a group of coworkers sees themselves as more than acquaintances, they’ll be more comfortable communicating and will adopt a group mentality. And it isn’t that hard to build some team spirit.
An occasional lunch or monthly group activity or outing can go a long way toward building relationships. If you’re really looking for team building, you could always consider a company retreat. Your team will be able to bond outside the office, leading to better communication inside it.
6. Create Coffee Time
Most of the time coworkers take scattered breaks throughout the day. However, once upon a time, offices had a set coffee break for employees. The whole office set down work and came together for a short conversation break while enjoying a cup of coffee together.
Coming together as a team in a relaxed situation on a regular basis means team members will get used to conversing and relating to each other. You could either make this a company-wide policy every day or have an extended once a week break for the purpose of team building.
7. The Team That Trains Together Wins Together
Want your team to score big wins together? Make sure they’re training together!
While training does take time and money, you’ll reap the rewards in increased communication and work output. Remember that not everyone has great communication skills. Regular training focused on communication can help those team members that tend to be wallflowers or shrink from confrontation on how to better handle situations.
Communication courses include learning how to deliver messages and presentations, building relationships, talking face-to-face, and dealing with conflict.
8. Utilize Advances in Communication
Because so many people work remotely, new apps have sprung up that allow team members located in various places to stay on the same page. These apps include project management tools, those that are strictly for messaging away from email, and collaboration software that allows each team member to check-in.
But these apps could be used in the office as well.
Imagine being able to create a project or task that can be sent to all necessary team members. Each person sees their part beside the greater whole and can check in with questions, ideas, and their completed agendas. Instead of each person operating independently, with no idea of what other team members are doing, they can watch and communicate with all the other people involved.
Team Communication Done Right!
Good team communication comes down to good leadership. If you lay the right foundation and encourage good communication habits, you’ll create a winning team that knows how to work together.
Work on encouraging bonding inside of work and out, create policies that encourage transparency and communication, and lead by example with your own communication habits.
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