Effective Team Communication

A team performs at its best when everyone’s on the same page, working toward agreed-upon goals and communicating openly in both good times and bad. Sometimes, however, communication can go a bit sour. Here are some tips on repairing the flow of communication:

• Promote an open forum for ideas. Let your employees know that you value their opinions and input. Maintain an open-door policy so that team members know they come to you with their concerns at any time.

• Be clear about expectations. Make sure team members have clear job descriptions and evaluation criteria so they know what is expected of them.

• Provide individual encouragement. If an individual team member seems to have become isolated or disengaged, reach out and provide positive support. Solicit his or her ideas in meetings, set up a one-on-one meeting and restate your understanding of his or her views to show that you value their input.

• Repair a conflict. If a personality conflict or disagreement has damaged your relations with a team member, step back and seek a solution. Make a mental note of that person’s positive abilities, contributions, traits and personal interests. Approach him or her and strike up an informal dialogue on topics that are likely to resonate with the person. By taking the first step—as a leader—you can pave the way toward improved interactions on other topics.

• Keep things positive. Encourage a supportive and complementary environment among team members. Discourage gossip and negative talk about any individual. When necessary, remind everyone that we are on the same team.

• Recognize accomplishments. Whenever a team member performs exceptionally or otherwise goes the extra mile to contribute, be sure to praise the individual throughout the department and beyond.