Effective Communication within a team is more than just using good English to communicate, it involves collaboration, networking, knowing working styles and so much more. It is about understanding who you work with and what works for you.
So here are a few tips that can make you think about how you communicate within your team:
1) Get to know your team
Teams are made of people and it is important that we know the people who make our team. Every person functions differently and different things motivate them. For instance, some people need to be regularly followed upon to keep track of work, whereas others work quite independently. Understanding how they work and think will help you work with them better. So maybe having opportunities to talk and connect with your team is crucial, formally or informally. Knowing this can be very important in avoiding expectation, disappointment and conflict.
2) Clarity of roles and responsibilities
Have you attended a meeting where something was supposed to be done, but everyone thought someone else was going to do it? This type of confusion can be avoided if roles were assigned and there is clarity on what is expected. When an individual knows what is expected of them and by when this helps them prioritise/ re-organise work accordingly. This can promote smooth functioning within a team.
3) Working flexibly
While roles may be clear in a team, it is also important to know that there is flexibility built into the functioning, otherwise, when something does not go according to plan, it can disrupt the flow of things. Building in time for unexpected events and communicating this can provide more flexibility and less strain on the working team. We should also consider the different working styles of people in the team and the impact of this on their work.
4) Regular catch-ups
Spending time together helps build a sense of community which motivates and keeps people positive. So, having regular opportunities to engage with each other, perhaps over a coffee or a lunch break is important. These catch-ups can be formal and informal to regularly keep people in the loop and hear about each other’s challenges/success stories. Meeting informally helps build relationships and also empathise with the people we work with, directly impacting how well we work together.
5) To email or not to email?
That is the question! A lot of communication between a team is over emails, but there is great value in speaking to the person directly and getting help rather than always relying on emails. Speaking directly or over the phone or a video call can help make things clearer and more personal. While emails are an important part of record-keeping, it need not be the only way to operate. Emails can seem very formal or threatening in some cases, so use your judgment to decide when speaking directly and when to do so over email.
Appreciating each other in the team and celebrating success will help in the collaboration and the effective functioning of a team. Valuing efforts and people goes a long way as this will result in a team that finds it easy to work together to achieve common objectives. Regularly communicating with other members of the team that you value and appreciate, will promote an atmosphere that is conducive for work.
So, while using good English in emails and meetings is important, it is essential that these tips are part of the way a team functions to ensure there is optimum productivity.
-By Melisha Robinson, Teacher British Council