Workplace communication is a powerful tool that can influence the success of an entire organization. In any relationship or setting, professional and personal, communication is crucial in maintaining peace and collaborating effectively. Essentially what you communicate and how you frame it affects the way that others receive your message.
In team settings, certain formalities exist and dictate how coworkers interact and communicate with one another. In fostering a more productive and cooperative workspace, teams must prioritize communication strategies. Doing so allows employees to engage and grow within the group.
What is effective team communication: Our definition
Communication is the exchange of information or ideas with other people. Our team communication definition is how members of a team interact with one another, the accepted social behaviors of a team (such as expressing ideas, voicing opinions and concerns, offering help, and resolving conflict), and methods of communication. Mastering group communication skills, in all aspects, is essential to collaborate effectively.
Why are communication and teamwork important?
Communication in groups is important because there is an increased risk of conflict, tension, and misunderstandings in the workplace without it. Good communication is vital because it is the foundation of a healthy culture and properly functioning team. When a team has excellent communication, all other aspects of a business can flourish. Conversely, if a team has difficulties with communication, all other elements are more likely to struggle or fail altogether.
Increases employee engagement
Excellent team communication can lead to better work relationships and role clarity, increasing both employee satisfaction and engagement. When employees can interact with one another positively, making connections with one another in the process, they will feel more involved with an organization. When duties and expectations are communicated clearly, employees will feel more confident in their roles and more likely to be engaged with their work.
Fosters a more collaborative and productive workplace
When team members are able to communicate, they are able to collaborate; good communication is critical in improving teamwork and teambuilding. If employees can understand each others' communication styles, they will be able to work together more efficiently and lessen the risk of misunderstandings or conflict. Team collaboration is essential for a productive work environment-- with excellent communication strategies in place, work can get done quicker and more efficiently.
Makes it easier to reach goals
Communicating accurately and effectively improves work performance and helps a business implement strategies, meet targets and grow toward established objectives (Indeed). With solid communication practices, businesses can streamline projects and work towards common goals with much more ease-- because everyone is on the same page. With a lack of communication, organizations may suffer from disorganization, miscommunication, and other issues that will negatively impact their abilities to reach goals.
More efficient problem solving
Communication plays an enormous role in our abilities to solve problems with others. Within an organization, the ability to clearly convey the issue and work with other team members to find a solution is instrumental for success. With each team member able to contribute their unique perspective and expertise, strong communication can help teams better execute plans as a unit comprised of all the uniqueness each person has to offer.
Better conflict resolution
In any team setting, conflicts are sure to arise regardless of how well everyone gets along. Lack of communication only contributes to the issue and can increase tension or hostility in a work environment. If employees understand how to communicate with one another when such conflicts arise, they are better equipped to work through problems. While some employees may be direct and confrontational, others may shy away from conflicts. It is crucial to understand how to interact with your coworkers in a way that resonates.
How does communication in teams work?
Do not underestimate the effect that the quantity and quality of communication will have within a team. Frequent contact, such as one-on-one and other opportunities for two-way feedback, can help teams remain connected and on the same page. High-quality communication entails active listening, intentional and genuine words, and clarity in how team members vocalize their thoughts and ideas. In teams, non-verbal communication also plays a role in effective interactions; this includes eye contact, facial expressions, and body language and can help or hinder a conversation. A combination of quantity and quality, paired with mindful non-verbal communication, can significantly influence workplace culture.
For any organization, it is important to prioritize strong communication practices. Sometimes, that is easier said than done as each individual differs in their communication styles and preferences. It may be beneficial to learn about your team’s unique personalities to understand better how they need to be interacted with. Get started by having your team take a free personality assessment.
Teamwork communication formats and channels
Communication in group work will vary based on industry and role, but generally, there are two formats: written or verbal. Each team has its' unique combination of the two formats, through various channels, in a way that works best for their needs.
Verbal team communication
Verbal communication in a team includes video or phone calls, team meetings, 1:1's, and casual water-cooler conversations. In these interactions, non-verbal communication plays an important role, as others can read your body language and facial expressions.
Written team communication
Written communication includes emails, team chats (such as Slack), and paper or electronic forms of documentation. In a written format, quality communication is more critical because written communication is open to interpretation; take special care to assess whether the reader could misunderstand your words.
4 communication and teamwork styles
There are four determining styles of communication in teamwork, which heavily influence how people interact with those around them. Each person has elements of each style within themselves but may notice that they resonate more strongly with one or another.
Passive communicators may struggle to express themselves or avoid voicing their feelings, needs, or opinions altogether. Subsequently, they are inclined to put the needs of others before their own and at their own expense. Passive communicators can be nonconfrontational to a fault, acting either indifferently or falsely agreeable in times of conflict, and usually having difficulties setting boundaries and saying no as a result. This type of communication can be dangerous because it can allow resentment and anger to fester and build.
An aggressive communicator stands out in a crowd; these people are often the loudest in the room, speaking over others and controlling the narrative during a discussion. Aggressive communicators struggle with listening to others or considering the effect their opinions, actions, or ideas may have on them. When confronted, these people will respond with defensive hostility or aggression and may dismiss their view or issue altogether. Often these types of communicators will obtain positions of leadership or authority because they demand respect and dominance by nature.
Although they may seem content on the outside, passive-aggressive communicators may carry feelings of resentment, which inevitably surface in subtle ways. While these people are aware of their feelings and needs, they find it challenging to express them and have difficulties admitting to anger or how they truly feel. They do a good job of pretending that everything is okay when in reality, they are silently suffering. Their pent-up resentment or anger may manifest in behaviors such as gossip, silent treatments, under-their-breath comments, or other forms of indirect or non-verbal communication.
Assertive communicators utilize open, genuine, and direct communication in their interactions. They speak with intention and integrity of their feelings, and their actions typically align with their words. They can find ways to express themselves while still considering the feelings, needs, and ideas of the people around them, encouraging honest conversations where everyone has a chance to speak. Assertive communicators take ownership of their feelings or actions with "I" statements ("I feel ...). Assertive communication is healthy, respectful, and honest; it is thought to be the most effective form of communication and the ideal to strive for in each interaction.
8 Effective team communication tips
Communication and team-building go hand in hand, directly influencing and affecting the other. Excellent communication in successful work teams is more likely when an organization prioritizes teambuilding and gives employees the opportunity to connect with each other and the organization. Here are some tips to increase the effectiveness of your team’s communication:
1. Encourage openness and transparency
Openness and transparency play valuable roles in the importance of communication in teamwork, as they facilitate honest conversations and trust-building. When team members can openly discuss issues, ask for help or clarity, and trust each other and their leaders, they will feel empowered in their roles and as members of the team.
2. Respect all opinions
Respecting the opinions of others, regardless of whether they are oppositional to your own, is a fundamental part of an effective communication strategy. A workplace that values respect encourages its' employees to express their opinions and ideas, listen to one another, and be cooperative when working together. Because of the role respect plays in the importance of group communication, the entire team can benefit from a lower stress, more positive, and welcoming environment as a result.
3. Define each role
When each team member's role is clearly defined, they understand precisely what is expected of them, their duties, and what they need to do to succeed. Having clearly defined roles positively impacts an organization because it results in better cooperation and higher productivity, as employees are aware of precisely how they can contribute in their positions.
4. Allow two-way feedback
Feedback should always be a two-way street, and managers should welcome opportunities to grow and learn from their employees. When employees are given the ability to express concerns or doubts to management, it is more likely that solutions will be found and problems will be solved. Without two-way feedback, leaders are in the dark about their employees' needs or issues, evolving into something much more damaging. Two-way feedback is therefore instrumental in maintaining effective team communication skills.
5. Prioritize team-building
Give employees the opportunity to get to know each other outside of work and build deeper connections through team-building activities and events. Doing so encourages conversation in a lower-stress scenario and allows team members to build trust and foster a more united company culture. Regardless of the size of the team, there are plenty of great ideas when it comes to team-building activities.
6. Develop a routine
Try to develop a routine that works best for you and prioritizes frequent and candid conversation amongst your team. To facilitate such discussions, you may wish to implement daily check-ins, weekly 1:1's, and monthly or biweekly all-team meetings. Each meeting allows both employees and leaders to clarify anything that needs explaining, strategize for success, and promote alignment.
7. Practice Empathy
Empathetic communication is a way of adapting your style to communicate with others the way they like, rather than the way you want. Be mindful in each interaction, and be sure to consider the following:
- WHAT the other party wants from the interaction
- WHY they want it
- HOW they want to interact
By considering these factors before engaging in a conversation, you can be sure to adapt your communication to best suit her needs so you can each get the most out of the conversation.
8. Lead by example
And finally, practice what you preach! If you want employees to adopt new communication practices, you must lead by example and inspire them to follow. A leader must guide their team and organization to success; to do so, they must embody the very concepts and behaviors that they ask of their employees. When employees see management contributing to a healthy and communicative environment, they are more inclined to follow suit.
Team communications key takeaways
Communication is the backbone of an efficient workforce, and implementing practices that combat communication issues and encourage healthy conversation is essential for an organization's success. To facilitate such practices, try to carve out time to gather feedback from employees, create alignment amongst team members, and collaborate with others. Improving workplace communication takes diligence and consistency and can be achieved through utilizing robust communication strategies. In order to understand your communication style better, take a free personality assessment today!
How does effective communication affect collaboration?
Effective communication serves as the foundation for collaboration; without it, teams may struggle to reach their goals and work together efficiently. Without the ability to communicate, there may be a lack of clarity that prevents collaboration from occurring. When collaborating, communication is fundamental to convey your ideas and perspectives.
Why is communication important in teamwork?
When team members can communicate effectively with each other, they will be able to collaborate well and work together to reach a common goal more efficiently. Good communication within a team allows for the better exchange of ideas, execution of projects, and cooperation amongst team members.
What can individuals do to strengthen their teamwork and communication in the workplace?
Get to know your teammates and make an effort to actively listen to their ideas, opinions, needs, and feelings. When you are able to understand your colleagues better, you’ll be able to interact with them more effectively and lead more productive and healthy conversations.