Team management tips: encouraging effective communication

Nov 26, 2015 1:29:03 PM

Ready to start encouraging effective communication in your office? In need of some team management tips?

There is no easy way to manage your time when you are managing the workload of others, but there are ways you can retain your sanity and set clear expectations for your team... and this all comes down to team management. 

Team management tip #1: set clear expectations

Whether you are running a project or managing a team, clear expectations are what is required. You are not always the one that sets them, but you can be the one that ensures they are kept.

When you are managing a team of people, as someone who is affected by their emotional wellbeing, you need to understand from each of them, how they wish to be treated. It is not suitable to 'do unto others as you would have done to you'. You need to treat people as they wish to be treated and the only way you can find that out is to ask them. Once you have a clear understanding about each member of your team, they need to know how you wish to be treated too, and I have found quite a good way to do this.

Team management tip #2: investigate communication preferences

When I take over a new team or have new members join an existing team, I speak to all the team members and find out how they work best, how they wish to be treated, what work they like to do and what work they would quite happily give up. Then we talk about communication. The important questions are: which form of communication do they prefer, how do they like to be acknowledged, how do they prefer to hear good and bad news and, finally, how do they best retain information?

So as an example, I prefer email and I don't need any of the 'how are you' preamble. I prefer to hear good news in person (but privately), and bad news over email, and I retain information best if I can read it. One team member I had, preferred in person communications, liked to be asked how their evening/weekend was, preferred bad news in person and good news in public, and retained visual information best.

Once you have this information for everyone on your team, bring them all together and ask them the same questions around the table. If suitable, you can have each of them do a slide or write their preferences up so you can share it amongst your team as a reminder.

I found this activity one of the strongest I have ever done. It allowed the team to understand how just a simple way of approach would help them get the best from their colleague; that if they missed the 'how are you today?' it could change the response they got. It allowed everyone to understand how to get the best from their colleagues without anyone being put on the spot or being told that their way was 'wrong'.

What it also did was enable your team to understand how to get the best from you. Whilst they may not be responsible for your behaviour towards them, knowing that there are ways to get a positive response from you allows them to have some control over it and communicate in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable.

And as we all know, the more control you can empower your teams with, the better!

Find out more about our guest blogger Ghilaine Chan

Ghilaine is passionate about allowing people to do their best work and delight others

Ghilaine helps people to operate fast growing businesses in a productive and streamlined way, keeping an eye on time and money, whilst increasing motivation and improving customer relationships in a fast paced, changing environment. She brings order to chaos and creates scalable processes around the business, empowering them to delight their customers.

She works with tech based or enabled companies who are looking to disrupt their industries, but know that people are at the centre of their success and helping them manage their teams to: 

  • Do their best work and delighting others
  • Create some boundaries, but not cages
  • Know they are acting for a purpose
  • Determine which part they play, that what they receive enables them and what they produce is useful
  • Have autonomy over how and when they produce

She has over 15 years' experience in scaling international business functions for technology companies, within their support and consultancy organisations.

Ghilaine is a graduate of London College of Fashion (now part of University of the Arts: London) with a degree in Product Development. She is a Mentor with Microsoft Ventures,UpRising and Outbox Incubator as well as an Approved Business Coach with Growth Accelerator, now part of Business Growth Services. 

Want to know more? Connect with Ghilaine on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter and visit her website, Ghilaine & Co

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