5 tried and tested steps for effective team communication.

Steps for effective team communication.

Effective Team communication is the backbone and foundation of every human interaction. Our pre-historic ancestors boosted their collective hunting and surviving capacity by living together in small communities. Had it not been for effective team communication, perhaps we would still have been on four legs.  

Narrowing our perspective to business organisations, effective team communication is one of the paramount pillars of any successful and healthy organisation.

86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures” – Salesforce

But what exactly is effective team communication? 

As a leader or manager, you must know when to communicate, what to communicate, how to communicate and with whom to communicate. These four questions round up the scope for effective team communication. 

The content, as well as the context of the communication, make it effective. You should know the art of saying the right things to the right person at the right time.

An organisation that homes effective team communication is one where the employees can speak their mind and feel no workplace pressure.

Since communication is an inter-personal act, there are no scientific manuals or rulebooks on how to instil the habit of effective communication in your team. Therefore, there cannot be a standardised ready-made blueprint for every organisation to follow.

Just like any other policy, it is entirely on the team leader and a little bit of trial-and-error.

Here are some tried-and-tested ways to for you to improve team communication and make your employees effective and efficient in team communication.

1. An Open-door Policy is a must.

We have talked about the importance and scope of effective team communication but what is the first step towards achieving it? 

Here is the answer, the biggest hindrance to effective team communication in any team/organisation is a lack of transparency.

What is an open-door policy?

An open-door policy means that the employer/manager/team leader of the organisation is easily approachable by any member of the organisation for any questions or discussions. 

The objective of this policy is to ensure transparency and open communication. It encourages employees to communicate with their seniors regarding their workplace matters, problems, or recommendations without following the formal (read: rigid) chain of effective team communication.

Why an open-door policy?
  • encourages effective team communication between the employee and the management
  • encourages healthy discussion at the workplace
  • mitigates any slander or badmouthing of superiors
  • instils a feeling of togetherness in the employees
  • gives clarity and a different perspective to the employees
  • the leader gains respect from his subordinates 

2. Two-sided personal feedback 

My ex-employer at the company I used to work for before, never let me or any other employee feel that ‘feedback’ had value. Speaking from the perspective of an employee, I feel it really is the worst working environment for one. The employees feel undervalued and underappreciated. It just dilutes any sense of belonging that he/she has with the firm. 

 According to Gusto, ” Over half of employees say a strong sense of community kept them at a company longer than what was in their best interests “

Statistical data from Hubspot states that 65 % of employees in an organisation feel that they want more feedback from their bosses and 69 % of employees said that they would work harder if they would get more feedback. 

However, A good leader not only provides healthy criticism to his subordinates from time to time but also takes constructive criticism from them from time to time. 

Any form of written or verbal feedback coming from the employee has also been proven to add greatly to their morale and efficiency. 

3. Clarity of Content

One of the most obvious and apparent threats to effective team communication is miscommunication.

David Grossman in his report “The Cost of Poor Communications” stated that a survey of 400 companies ( with a strength of 100,000 employees each) cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of miscommunication to and between employees.

Causes of miscommunication 

There are numerous causes of miscommunication in the workplace. These include- 

  • Physical causes like inadequate gestures or body language
  • Psychological causes like low self-esteem or social anxiety
  • Emotional hindrances
  • Distractions, disinterest, or lack of attention 
  • Difference between intended message and perceived message
  • Language barriers
How to overcome miscommunication?

A good team leader has to be an effective communicator. Identifying and overcoming the agents of miscommunication in your organisation is the first step towards a productive and happy organisation.

  • Be clear and to the point– There is no point in sugar-coating or beating around the bush. A successful professional place requires honest and direct communication.
  • No assumptions– The biggest mistake that a leader can commit is to make assumptions. Authority often leads to a superior feeling of self-righteous, but a leader must acknowledge and accept that he doesn’t know it all. For any confusion or misunderstandings, talk to your employees. 
  • Become a good listener– You know what no one likes? A heedless oblivious boss. Yes, as a team leader listening is one of the most important weapons in your arsenal.
  • Be respectful and keep checking-up.

4.  Timely training for communication  

A study conducted by Smarp reveals that  Organizations with effective change and communication programs are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers ” 

Yes, training is a timely and costly process. Yes, training may require employees to miss out on a few of their productivity hours. And yes, training may not have instant results. 

But, having said all of that, in the long run, training will not only increase productivity but will generate a healthy culture of effective team communication. This will not only help the current employees but also future employees.

Big organisations usually have in-house corporate trainers. But if you are a small business, then you can hire professionals for quarterly team communications training. A communication usually training covers- the basics of communications, tips to improve speaking and writing skills, soft skills training and corporate etiquette. 

Besides this, employees can also be trained in using the existing tools of communications with maximum efficiency and minimum errors.

5. Invest in reliable communication technology

Unless you have been living under a rock, you must be knowing that the future for businesses is remote working. (Read: How) The void of physical contact and meetings has quickly been compensated for by technology. 

This is the time for your company to invest in smart communication and team collaboration tools, more than ever. 

  • Effective team communication platform– Ubblu is a distraction-free team chat platform that promises to make communication efficient and effortless. What makes Ubblu stand out from other team communication tools is that Ubblu lets you communicate through a floating window so you never have to minimize your work to chat. Other unique and distinctive features include- comprehensive to-do lists/notes, ‘starring’ and ‘muting’ conversations for selective priorities, and Google Drive and Dropbox integration. These features make Ubblu one of the most necessary productivity tools that you must use. Find out more about Ubblu features.
  • Project Management software– Trello is one of the most phenomenal Kanban-style project management and productivity tools, that helps you organise your work and connect with your team simultaneously. It is the perfect virtual diary that you need to organise all your notes, agendas, and To-do lists all at one place. You can employ Trello to monitor several projects/departmental divisions of your company, check their progress and keep updating them as when required. With features like customisable and personalised boards, lists, cards and reminder-equipped calendars, Trello is your one-stop solution for Project Management.
  • Employee time tracking software–  TopTracker is a 100% free time tracking app that works on the web, PC and mobile phones as well. From all the time-tracking and productivity tools, TopTracker is the perfect choice for a startup as- It can be used by the employer to monitor the work done by employees, get a summarised report for the same, and maintain a customisable payroll. Other features include- a centralised view of all the projects, easy invoicing and full privacy control for freelancers. Surprisingly, all this comes for free.

Conclusively,

The bottom-line being, effective team communication is the one sure-shot solution to improve the productivity and efficiency of the country.

For a leader, the most crucial quality is to lead by example. You as the leader, are constantly being observed by your employees all the time and employees will naturally follow and emulate what they see. If you want employees to be effective in communication then you will have to start practising what you preach. Effective team communication is just a matter for practice and consistent efforts.

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