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Five Important Tips for Effective Team Communication

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