How to Improve Team Communication

Good team communication is important for developing a loyal and efficient team. If you are a manager or team leader, you will want to know how to improve team communication, so that you have an excellent team.
If one has to study successful organizations, there is one thread that runs through all of them. Most of them have teams of like-minded individuals. These teams have become successful because of effective team communication. When one is able to communicate well with the members of the team, they are in a better position to make the right decisions. At the same time, lack of communication causes loss of critical information, which in turn can be a hindrance in your path to success. Hence, it is important to know how to improve team communication to reach team and organizational goals.

How to Improve Communication within a Team?

Having good intra-team communication ensures that troubling issues are nipped in the bud, before they bloom into full-fledged problems. There are simple ways to improve communication within the team, which will increase productivity of the team and also help develop better relations between the team members.

Media to Communicate: Often there are managers, who ask how to improve team communication, but do not give the necessary medium to communicate. Depending on the working style of the organization, kind of work performed, etc., the right medium will have to be decided. Having an internal mailing system, internal telephone lines, portable media devices, etc. are some of the methods, which may be provided to the team members.

Ensure that Information is Communicated Well: For developing effective team communication skills, it is necessary that important information is well communicated to all the team members. To know if the requirements are well communicated, you may want to ask questions to the team members and get rid of ambiguity, if any.

Choose the Right Mode of Communication: Every team has a different way in which information has to be communicated to them. In some cases, verbal communication is the best way, while in others it is the written form of communication. The most important or critical information has to be communicated in a way that it works the best for the team.

Invite Feedback: For improving team communication, it is important that positive and negative feedback is invited from the team members on different issues. However, you will have to ensure that right avenues for communication are opened to the team members. The avenues should be so provided, that the team members find it user-friendly.

Prompt Reply: It has been seen that a prompt reply to any form of communication helps in improving team communication. At the same time courteous responses are also important in communication. Even if you are busy, notifying the other person is important, so that there is no misunderstanding.

Team Structure: The way the team is structured will also go a long way in improving team communication. It is important that all the members are given importance as well as a chance to participate in discussions and decision-making. More often than not participation gives the team members, the much-needed confidence.

Politeness and Humor: Polite behavior between the team members facilitates better team interaction. It is seen that polite behavior helps in getting the work done rather easily as opposed to being adamant. Smiling actually helps in bonding relations. Sharing a good laugh over something also helps in improving team communication.

These were some of the tips on how to improve team communication. Here is a 'special' tip for the managers. It is best NOT to order the team members all the time. There may be some tasks, which would rather get done easily, if they are recommended to the team members. As a manager, you will also have to take it upon yourself to solve problems between different team members, if there are any, so that healthy communication among team members is fostered.
By Bhakti Satalkar
Published: 4/16/2011
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