Monday, November 23, 2009

Executive Team Building - Resolving Communication Breakdowns on Teams

Success in business is a team effort and in order for teams to be successful they must be able to communicate effectively.

In spite of the best attempts to keep teams performing at a high level, executives are often faced with communication breakdowns when building teams.

Communication breakdowns can be caused by a number of reasons. Let's look at a few of the major reasons and what can be done to prevent them.

The first reason why communication fails on teams is lack of trust. When team members trust each other there is a free flow of communication.

Trust starts with having confidence that all team members are committed to the goals and objectives of the team. So, the first step to building trust is to establish a team direction..

Once the team direction is established the team has a unifying target to strive after. Having the team work together to establish the direction is important.

Everyone should feel they had a hand in setting the goals for the team. Having everyone involved is also a great way to establish buy-in.

After establishing the team direction, continue to build trust in a variety of ways. Sometimes it's as simple as team members going out to lunch with each other.

You could also have special meetings that team members work together to create or special team building sessions.

The bottom line is when the team trusts each other, they communicate more effectively with each other.

Team conflict is another reason for breakdowns in communication. Actually, it is not the team conflict, but the failure to resolve team conflict that creates the breakdown.

Conflict on teams will occur. Conflict is good because out of conflict usually comes the best ideas, plans, solutions, action items, etc.

However, when there is unresolved conflict, communication fails. One way to resolve conflict is to have a set of core values that the team will govern themselves by.

Establishing core values lays a foundation for decision making and team interactions. Sometimes it may take the leader to get involved, but most conflict can be ironed out by simply referring to the team's core values.

Stress is often a factor in communication breakdowns on teams. Stress is difficult to judge because everybody has a different tolerance for stress.

What might be stressful to one person is not stressful to another. Most stress is caused by time pressure.

While you can't always eliminate time pressure, there are some things you can do to minimize it. Planning really effective way to minimize stress. Setting realistic aggressive time frames from the get go can prevent major stress later on.

Communication breakdowns will occur even with the best efforts to keep it at bay. Let's face it, in six thousand years of recorded history, we as human beings still have not mastered the communication challenge.

However, if you will implement some of the above suggestions, you can keep your teams on target to reach their goals.

By : Shari_Roth

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