Importance of Effective Communication in Building High-Performance Teams
If proper procedures are the foundation of a high-performance team, then clear and open communication is the roof. Clear and honest communication between the team members and the management is the backbone for the survival of a high-performance team. It acts as a glue that binds all the team members together. Effective communication helps in building a favourable environment for work and boosts the productivity of the employees for delivering their best. For the communication to be effective, one should be aware of own communication style and others as well and adapt to the different communication styles of others. The focus should be on the ultimate outcomes or the results and not on the individual interests or preferences.
High-Performance teams pay a lot of importance to the selection of the communication channel and focus on what is supposed to be communicated. According to Hayes (1997), communication is the most critical factor for establishing cohesive teams.
Research results prove that the team leaders dedicate around 50% to 70% of their time on deciding the communication framework and methodologies for disseminating the information to the team members and motivating them. According to Hardingham and Royal (1994), the quality of communication serves as the litmus test for determining the team health. In their opinion, communication generally should be interactive involving the active participation of each team member in sharing ideas, giving recommendations, exchanging feedback and lending fresh perspectives on various issues. Every member of the team should be having access to the same information irrespective of the level or the status of the member of the team.
Following steps can be followed for strengthening communication amongst the members of the high-performance teams:
- Improving Self-Awareness: For enhancing the communication between the team members, each member should be firstly developing self-awareness regarding their style of communication. An analysis of the four different methods of communication will help us in analysing the differences in the communication styles amongst the team members and how it is tackled:
- Green Brain: Green brains kind of people focus mainly on the bigger picture and they concentrate on analysing all the minute details, gathering information about the intricate issues till they are satisfied about the end outcomes.
- Red Brain: The Red Brains focus more on the clarity. Such individuals are extremely logical in nature and seek clarity on the processes by collecting information and referencing it. They are practical-minded and approach the issues logically.
- Blue Brain: Blue Brains kind of people are intuitive in nature. They communicate by analysing the surroundings and then determine their strategy of communication. Blue brains are capable of working on many tasks simultaneously.
- Purple Brain: People who come under Purple Brain category give utmost importance to the information and treat it like a king. They take time to deliver results as they are quite methodical and firstly collect the detailed information before working upon the assignment, but most of the times their results are close to perfect.
- Developing an Acceptance for the personality differences and otherís style of communication: Mutual acceptance fosters trust and interdependence, as a result of which minimizes the occurrence of any possible conflicts. Improved acceptability and cohesion amongst the team members leads to the achievement of superior results by establishing a performance-oriented culture.
- Regular Team Meetings for Information Dissemination and Communication: The members of the high-performance teams participate in regularly in team briefings or meetings for dissemination of vital information and gathering feedback. In such gatherings, the team members have the opportunity to raise the matters of concern or relevance before the entire team. The focus of such discussions is on achieving continuous improvement at work. For dispersed teams, such meetings are held virtually by way of video-conferencing or teleconferencing over a pre-scheduled time.
- Energy, Engagement and Exploration: Energy, engagement and exploration are the three most important metrics which distinguish a successful team from an unsuccessful team.
- Energy: Energy level is rated as high in the team, if the members indulge in frequent face to face interactions or direct communication and not only through communication over emails or telephone. Energy implies the magnitude of both formal as well as informal communication which takes place between the team members. Higher the magnitude, higher will be the energy level.
- Engagement: Engagement describes the degree of interaction amongst the team members and their contribution in the discussion. High engagement results in positive or exceptional team outcomes. Engagement is directly proportional with energy, which can be explained as higher the energy level, higher will be the team engagement and higher the performance. Partially engaged teams can never deliver high-performance outcomes.
- Exploration: It is concerned with how effectively the team members communicate with the outsiders.
- Practising active communication and listening skills in the team. Maintaining short and simple conversations.
- Members try to engage in a lot of face-to-face interactions and their gestures are energetic. The conversational overtone which they use should be cordial and sweet.
- Members seek to connect with each other directly instead of connecting through the team leader.
- Members indulge in various channels of conversation with the team, they periodically take a break, gather information from the outside environment and bring back the relevant information to the team.
- The members resolve the differences amicably, thereby creating scope for newer opportunities for the team.
A high-performance team can achieve high energy levels, high team engagement and high level of exploration by following the below principles of communication:
- Setting up a work environment which supports open and effective communication: It is concerned with the implementation of an effective policy framework, workspace and organisational structure design and implementation of specific practices which support collaborative and effective communication amongst the team members. Moreover, the team members should develop their communication skills and apply them to work in such a way that leads to consistent or high team productivity.
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- Team Development - Introduction
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