A successful business hinges on the productivity and morale of its employees. Although a company’s general work environment may be conducive to individual productivity, faulty communication and boundaries among team members could cause issues. Improving teamwork within the workplace comes with establishing a few key guidelines that will encourage efficient communication and discourage habits that have been hurting team dynamics.
Encourage Effective Communication
Effective communication comes in many forms, but one goal that all communication should gear towards is clearly giving/receiving a message. Set ground rules that will foster clear communication between co-workers; these ground rules will reduce arguments caused by misunderstanding.
- Remove distractions during conversations – It’s difficult to clearly communicate an idea to an individual who is distracted on their phone while you are talking. During meetings and team discussion, employees should put their devices away.
- Regulate off-the-clock calls – Set ground rules for when communication that happens outside of work. For instance, this could mean limiting work-related calls after work hours to emergency situations only. Team members who excessively pester each other outside of work tend to foster more tension inside the workroom.
- Encourage full-disclosure – Encourage team members to remain honest when discussing ideas. Effective communication means talking about the things that aren’t working, too. Bringing these topics to light will boost morale rather than hurt it, especially when the concerned team member receives respect and active listening to their own ideas in return.
- Provide conflict management – Set up a conflict management plan for employees to use when disagreements arise. Model how this would look like in practice and be open to receiving input and revising the plan dependent on what works for your employees.
Tips for Working as a Team
- Become an active listener – Even without distraction, some employees tend to zone out when other co-workers are pitching ideas of discussing other matters. Active listening takes the passive aspect out of being an audience-member. Ask questions for clarification, add your own ideas after respectfully listening, and reflect on what the discussion achieved.
- Be open to constructive criticism – Be open to receiving feedback about both the things you are doing well and what you could improve. Remaining flexible in your outlook can be difficult at first but everyone has room to grow. Ask for clarification and communicate about your growth rather than dwelling on imperfection.
- Don’t complain – Complaining about issues versus discussing them and complaining about things that can’t change are two negative habits that hurt both the employee and team morale. Stay positive even about things you can’t change, and this will translate into your work.
- Clarify roles – In team-driven settings, clarify what each coworker is doing to contribute to the team. Miscommunication often happens when employees are unclear about their roles within a team.
Effective team dynamics does not always come naturally. When you expect opposing personality-types to work together, setting guidelines for coworker interaction is the best bet in fostering respectful, effective communication. Though it may take time for effective communication to build within a team, transparently adhering to set guidelines will eventually build a natural team dynamic that will enhance the workplace.