Team Communication

A team that does not communicate is not a team at all, it's just a group of individuals working towards their own goals. Communication is essential in building a successful team, without it the exchange of ideas, instructions, data, and information would not take place. A team needs to have proper communication in order to function effectively.

There are two sides to communicating, the first side is the speaker (or writer), the other side is the listener (or reader). Barriers of communication can arise due to the fault of either the speaker of the listener. It is the responsibility of the speaker to convey his/her message in a clear manner that the listener can understand. This requires the speaker to understand the background of his/her audience and to use the appropriate language to present his/her message. Also the speaker needs to make sure that he/she communicates his/her message to the appropriate people. If a written message is being distributed, it is recommended that the message be proofread and checked for clarity before it is sent out.

The listener should pay close attention to the details of what speaker the speaker says. In order to do this, the listener needs to give his/her full attention to the speaker and not be doing other things while the speaker is talking. If necessary the listener should take notes. If there is anything that the listener does not understand, he/she should ask the speaker for clarification.

Communication needs to be done in a timely manner. If there is an urgent problem that needs attention, it should be reported to the appropriate team members as soon as possible. For urgent matters, team members should be contacted in person or through the phone; email and other forms of communication are usually not able to relay the message as quickly. When responding to a question, it is ideal that one responds in a reasonable amount of time; especially if a teammate is relying on the answer to continue with their task. If the person being asked doesn't know the answer, then he/she should just say so.

There needs to be a proper balance of communication, not too much and not too little. Too much communication can be counter-productive. There is no need to report on every single detail. There's also no need to report on the completion of routine tasks, unless an unexpected problem arises. On the flip side not communicating enough can be counter-productive as well. Periodic updates on the project status can be beneficial for the team leader to gauge the timeline for the completion of the project. Also one has to make sure that he/she doesn't assume too much, if there is uncertainity over a situation, he/she should ask for clarification.

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