Updated: Feb 4, 2019
What is communication?
Wikipedia describes it as: Communication (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning "to share") is the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.
Why do relationships generally breakdown – both personally and professionally?
LACK OF COMMUNICATION!!
How does your team Communicate?
While some people claim they can, NO ONE can read your mind. We are all wired differently and interpret and absorb information uniquely. You need to communicate your thoughts, ideas, feedback so others actually hear and understand what you mean.
Keep your team relationships developing and evolving to new positive strength to strength. Communicate with them regularly, communicate with each other regularly. Have they done a great job? Don’t just think it, say it! Did they smash through a project or kick arse on their KPI’s – tell them, acknowledge them.
Two key problems I see in team communication is:
Lack of Communication
I’m sure you have all had an under performing team member or staff member before. You get frustrated with their lack of input or involvement or time and effort put into a task. You get frustrated and your relationship deteriorates slowly over time because of this. Have you told them your frustrations? Have you asked them to step up? Communicate with them!
I’m great at this in the workplace, but terrible at this in my personal life! I’m very eloquent with my expectations on team members at work; we regularly meet for updates, and have open conversations about progress, high points and low points. But I’m shocking at asking for help in my personal life when things get too much; I never want to upset the applecart of friend / family situations and find myself avoiding certain events or situations. So yes, everyone can improve in this area. Sometimes we all just need a little reminder too!
For managers, I’m sure many of you have had staff who aren’t performing. Your frustration builds to a point where you start thinking through ways to move them on. Instead try communicating with them, give them targets and goals to meet and help them achieve it. Focus on their strengths and help them on their weaknesses before your relationship goes past the point of no return.
Tips on how to improve communication in the workplace
We all prefer to communicate in different ways, so in the workplace mix it up a little.
Drop a team email, call a team meeting, get someone else in to speak in the meetings. See what works best for the individuals in your team. Keep it regular and keep it interesting. Communicating both the good and the bad makes your jobs / your relationships easier in the long run.
Make sure there is a good mix of different methods, make sure they also include mainly actual, physical verbal conversations too! The power of a face to face is amazing. This helps reduce mis-interpretation of the message.
Emails can be read in different tones, sms and phone messages can be read/heard on the run without full attention, memo’s are often misconstrued. The power of a 1:1 face to face where they can see, hear your passion and body language is often forgotten about in the workplace. It is vital and part of our DNA to be social, and sooooo many companies now just communicate via email!
I’m not talking about formal performance discussions here, even outside of any formal methods (that most of you dread) take the time out for a 1:1, take a team member for a coffee, catch up on a particular topic or project and talk through – you’ll be amazed the impact it has.
My number one tip for the day – schedule a workplace 1:1 – plan an agenda, provide feedback, get that issue off your chest, receive feedback and celebrate a successful project. Either good or bad news to communicate, just do it see how it can positively assist your relationship through communication.