Make your team’s one-on-one communication more effective
Friday, March 08, 2019
As a manager, you know how to take control of your group's dynamic in a meeting and draw the most fruitful comments and ideas out of your employees. Yet, when you observe your workers collaborating on their own, you might have noticed that their direct communication isn't as sharp.
How can you help your staff members get their points across to each other, making for better project outcomes? It's easier than you think. Call a "communication cleanup" meeting and stress the following research-driven points:
A study from the American Psychological Association found that when team members surveyed met to discuss project points without a supervisor directing the conversation, they tended to discuss information they already know, rather than work on innovating ideas.
This study of 4,800 workplace teams also found that the longer workers talk in one-on-one dialogue, the less effective they are in terms of implementing the points they discuss.
Stress to your workers how important it is to build on information that's already been developed.
Then, ask them to set a timer when they talk. Suggest they aim for brainstorming five progressive project ideas in 30 minutestogether, then immediately agreeing on which idea is best, and beginning to go forward with it.
Search for an objective answer.
Instructing employees to find the best answer to a project problem from a practical, logical perspective produces better results than solving that problem through group opinion or consensus. Tell your workers to crunch the existing facts and incorporate new information together, rather than use up their one-one discussion time to speculate on deadline.
Mandate email transparency.
A study from Cornell University found that lying in an email is an act often planned in advance, and email untruths are highly believable as well.
Make sure your team knows that they're expected to be transparent and forthcoming in all email interactions with their peers. Also, create a policy requiring face-to-face final confirmation data between your workers prior to every deadline, and observe your staff to make sure they comply.
Research from the University of Alabama-Huntsville found that when team members reflect on their roles in a project in a structured meeting atmosphere clearly, everyone works better in the end. The simpler and clearer communication is between team members, the better their companies function and profit.
Another idea that will make communication clearer: encourage your staff members to use bulletin boards, newsletters and regular email alerts on long-term projects to back up verbal discussion points on an ongoing basis.
Keep things light.
Don't let your team members think their communication needs to be too stuffy or regimented, though. Laughter can helpimprove workplace communication — if your employees joke around while they're collaborating, that can create a bond that helps them work better together. Great teamwork — that's your ultimate goal!
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