A company can’t communicate successfully with their clients and customers if they lack effective communication among their team. It’s up to not just the managers and leaders, but each team member to contribute to creating a healthy environment — where everyone feels that their voices are heard. A workplace should be a space where everyone can speak honestly, give and receive both positive feedback and constructive criticism, and share ideas that strengthen the team and the company. Improving communication among your team is a continuous and often challenging process, but we have found these 7 tips to be an effective way to get started:
- Be transparent. Share as much information as possible in an objective manner — don’t sugarcoat. A 2015 report identified that over 50% of employees say that more company information and data being shared had a significant positive impact on their productivity and performance.
- Be authentic. Be genuine in sharing how you felt about the results. What made you proud? What surprised you? What has been your experience as an employee? What do you wish you might have done differently over the past year as a leader? Being honest about your experience will help others feel comfortable opening up about their perspectives.
- Listen first. Create plenty of space for team members to share their thoughts and feelings about their experience. Make sure you’re listening — ask questions to check for understanding and resist the urge to chime in with your own perspectives. Don’t be dismissive, and acknowledge how your team feels.
- Don’t shy away from tough feedback. Invite candid feedback and show appreciation for team members who offer constructive insights. Approach feedback as a learning opportunity. This will build trust and encourage a team environment where everyone can contribute their best ideas.
- Focus on team strengths, while identifying opportunities. Starting from a place of positive inquiry can often lead to the best solutions. Show your team where their results outperform the organization as a whole, and discuss how these areas of strength can be used to address some of the issues and areas of opportunity.
- Ask for ideas. You don’t need to have all the answers. Catalyze group genius — ask your team for their thoughts on where to focus and specific actions that can be taken. Commit to exploring those ideas and suggestions further. This will not only ensure you develop the best solutions, but also that everyone on the team is bought-in and has skin in the game.
- Create shared accountability. Making improvements to the workplace and team culture is everyone’s responsibility — not just the leader’s. Commit and hold yourself accountable, but also agree to clear accountabilities from the team. Make this a regular discussion item during follow-up conversations to ensure that improving engagement is a team effort.
Facilitating successful conversations will not only strengthen your team and promote a better atmosphere at work, it will shine through in the way you interact with clients and customers.