Dec 22 / Phaedra Kali

How to increase communication in a team or among teams?

Consider the word "communication".
What is its opposite?

The answer might seem elusive.

Silence, briefly considered, appears as a contender, yet it, too, holds meaning, often conveying messages more profound than spoken or written words. So, if "everything" constitutes communication, then surely the challenge is not to find a way of increasing communication but rather in enhancing its quality.

In the world of teams and organizations, achieving effective communication becomes essential. It's a complex fabric woven from verbal conversations, non-verbal signals, and the nuances of silence. Yet, within this complexity, challenges frequently emerge from the disturbances in the communication flow. Both the transmitter and receiver have crucial roles, each facing their unique challenges.

The transmitter bears the responsibility of expressing a message with clarity and relevance to the recipient. Awareness of their “audience”, choice of appropriate channels (call/email/face to face chat), and crafting messages that are both concise and comprehensive are vital. On the flip side, team members deal with distractions, biases, and the difficulty of interpreting messages accurately. The interpretation of an email becomes a delicate dance between extracting the intended meaning and navigating through the noise of information overload.

Acknowledging these challenges, fostering a culture of constructive feedback becomes imperative. Feedback loops are integral for refining communication, aligning expectations, and nurturing a growth-oriented environment. Creating a culture where feedback is not just welcomed but encouraged ensures that communication gaps are addressed and ideas flow freely.

For managers seeking to enhance team communication, providing guidance and support is imperative. Clear communication goals, regular check-ins, and an open-door policy encourage team members to voice their concerns or ideas freely. Leading by example, managers display active listening, empathy, and clarity in their communication, setting the tone for the team to follow suit.

But how does a manager balance active listening and empathy with the pressures of their role? Being an active listener involves more than just hearing words; it's about understanding emotions, perspectives, and underlying needs. When a manager actively listens, s/he fosters trust, encourages collaboration, and empowers team members. Similarly, empathy, while crucial, doesn't mean being everyone's therapist. It involves understanding and acknowledging emotions without taking on the responsibility of solving personal issues. Managers can stay empathetic amidst the stress of day-to-day business by showing understanding, offering support within professional boundaries, and guiding individuals to relevant resources for additional assistance when needed.

Furthermore, emphasizing the role of non-verbal communication is as -if not more- important. Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice often convey more than words alone. Being aware of these aspects aids in ensuring that the intended message aligns with the communicated one.

In conclusion, effective communication isn’t just about the message sent; it's about the message received and understood. Understanding this lies at the heart of successful teamwork and organizational synergy. Ultimately, it's not solely about expressing thoughts; it's about ensuring they're heard, comprehended, and embraced collectively. Effective communication isn't just about the act itself; it's the catalyst for unity, propelling us towards shared goals and remarkable achievements.
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Phaedra Kali

MBA, Master Trainer & Executive Coach