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Five Important Tips for Effective Team Communication

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Effective team communication

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I have found in my consulting career that one of the biggest obstacles to teamwork is effective team communication. Solid team communication skills are usually lacking for a variety of reasons. I am outlining what I call my five B’s to effective team communication. If every team could master these five B’s a lot of problems could be avoided, especially in regards to work team communication.

Note: The Five B’s of effective team communication below can be used as rules of engagement that the team agrees to abide by.

Be Clear. When members of a team are unclear on the goals of the team and their individual responsibilities, team motivation and morale can suffer. The expectation must be set that if any team member is not clear, they have an obligation to ask. One simple trick to help team leaders overcome this barrier is to check for understanding at the end of each meeting.

Be Present. When team members communicate with one another, each team member must make a commitment to really listen, seek to understand one another, use appropriate body language and ask clarifying questions.

Be Courteous. Probably one of the most overlooked B’s to effective team communication is the lack of good old fashion politeness. Not being courteous in communication can result in hard feelings towards team members and the potential for individuals on the team to put up walls. Cutting people off when they are talking, not saying “thank you” “excuse me” and “please,” personally attacking team members and being condescending are all examples of poor team manners that can result in poor work communication on teams.

Be Flexible. There are going to be times when not everyone on the team is going to agree with an opinion or on a decision that has been made. Team members need to be flexible enough to support decisions contrary to their own desires, given that their opinions have been shared and adequately heard. Supporting the decision doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree, but they must be willing to help make whatever has been decided a success.

Be Kind. Team members must be careful to never talk bad about each other. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Or, if you aren’t willing to address a problem with the person there, then don’t. Refrain from gossip, it erodes the trust of those you are gossiping to and takes big chunks out of team morale.

So, what other B’s would you include in this list?

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Mike Rogers

Leave a Comment

  • A.T. Ashby March 21, 2012, 9:09 am

    Mike, I believe those are really good tips
    I would add…
    Be authentic. Too often, cliches are used or someone is trying to imitate a mentor and the intended message is not delivered effectively.
    Be timely. One of the biggest drivers of frustration is when communication is not delivered in a timely manner. Whether it’s a difficult conversation yet to be had or an individual witholding information due to a power play, you owe it to your team to deliver the message in a timely manner. Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t need to think through how to deliver the message or take some time to remove emotion when dealing with conflict.
    Lastly, the study of communication is very complex and delivering important messages should be taken seriously. Just because you think you delivered your message effectively doesn’t mean it was received. Testing for understanding with follow up questions is a good method to assess your own communication.
    Communication is King!

  • Deb Siverson March 21, 2012, 10:29 am

    Hey Mike…very nice. Words to live by. Where do you suppose courage or challenging the status quo fits? “Be Clear” is what I was thinking.

  • Tina Marking March 21, 2012, 10:30 am

    Very well written, and right on the mark. Thank you, I needed this one today!

  • Mike Rogers March 25, 2012, 4:57 pm

    Thanks All!
    A.T I agree with your additions. I especially like the one around being authentic, it is critical to building trust. People can see right through you if you aren’t. And being timely is also critical. If you aren’t timely you run the risk of people filling in the gaps to what they think is happening or believing what is being rumored.

  • Monty April 16, 2013, 10:47 pm

    Be Patient. to listen to other team member idea/concept

  • Pamela Cournoyer October 21, 2013, 4:38 pm

    Be Brave, it takes a lot of guts to tell someone that you messed up. They will respect you more for it and it will be easier to step off your pedestal the next time. People actually put brave people up on a pedestal, but it is one of their making not yours – better this way.

  • Vanita May 23, 2018, 12:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tips for effective team communication. I also believe honesty and morale values are several more important pracrices to exercise as well.

    • Mike May 24, 2018, 4:36 pm

      Thanks Vanita. Good additions.


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