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Effective Team Communication

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Effective Team Communication

In the environment today, it is not unusual to see people working in teams to accomplish certain goals and tasks. During our youth, parents and teachers encourage us through various methods to work as part of a team. Whether a sports team, classroom team, or after school activities, parents and teachers and other authority figures start the introduction of working in teams and teaching the value of being able to work together to accomplish a common goal. As people progress through the various stages of their lives, everyone continues to strive to communicate. Communication is a part of everyday life. It may be overlooked in some areas, but when dealing with a team environment, communication is vital. One fact that holds true is that communication can either make or break any team. Lack of communication can lead to confusion within a team as well as a lack of production on a common task. This paper will examine the many different aspects of teams with an emphasis on how effective communication can allow a team to accomplish set goals. When forming a team some things to consider are the challenges of teamwork, the benefits of teamwork, and how one can enhance his performance in the team in order to realize more benefits in regard to effective communication.

What is communication? According to Strate. L. (2007) “communication is commonly understood to be an act in which a source sends a message via a channel or medium to a receiver. For many, the ideal form of communication is a process that involves the exchange of information and the sharing of ideas and emotions between individuals, resulting in the strengthening of relationships and increased understanding and agreement.” (Strate. L. 2007). Before one can effectively enhance communication, one must first understand the definition of teamwork.

What is teamwork? Teamwork is defined as “a formal work group consisting of people who work together intensely to achieve a common group goal.” (University of Phoenix, Apollo Library, 2007). A group becomes a team when members demonstrate a commitment to one another to reach a common goal. There is a high degree of cohesiveness and accomplishment in a team. Simply put two heads are often better than one. (University of Phoenix, Apollo Library, 2007). Teamwork can help us communicate in many ways.

The use of teams in a workplace enhances employee communications. Team work requires some type of collective action that is grounded in words and actions. (University of Phoenix, Apollo Library, 2007). In effective teams, there is a sharing of information and ideas that improves communication within a team and between the team and the company for which they are employed. (University of Phoenix, 2007). In the Effective Team Work Starts with Good Communication article by Adkins, B, (2005), it is stated that “there is a checklist that can be used to provide ideas for communication within your team or this checklist can be used as springboard for developing your own team communication guidelines.” (Adkins, B, 2005). Adkins’s checklist includes (a) listen to one another; (b) respect differences; (c) take advantage of the skills and talents that each member brings to the team; (d) express your own opinion and point of view; (e) encourage others to express a different opinion and point of view; (f) value everyone’s contribution; (g) it is all right to have fun; (h) raise the tough issues so that they can be addressed; (i) stay focused on the goal; (j) avoid interrupting each other; (k) be open to feedback; (l) give and receive feedback with civility and respect; (m) use constructive rather than destructive criticism; (n) attack problems not people; (o) everyone participates, no free rides; (p) address conflicts early; and (q) share information with the whole team. (Adkins, B, 2005). According to Adkins, you will need to discuss these guidelines with your team and determine which guidelines to use and modify the guidelines to fit your team’s situation. (Adkins, B, 2005). Remember that one needs to effectively communicate in order to be a member of a successful team. One may ask himself what are the benefits of teamwork.

There are many benefits of working in teams. Team work provides circumstances for the development personally and socially for individuals. Individual circumstances for development personally includes (a) building self confidence; (b) building problem solving skills; (c) building reasoning skills; (d) building listening skills; and (e) building cooperation skills. Individual circumstances for development socially include (a) making friends; and (b) finding allies. Team work can also benefit the group in many ways such as (a) building trust and communication; (b) learning from other team members; (c) accomplishing projects that an individual cannot do alone; (d) brainstorming more solutions; (e) detecting flaws in solutions; and (f) building a strong workplace community. (Fontaine, C. 2004). Effective communication can also help with the performance of a team.

Study after study shows that high performing teams are critical to a successful business. The first step to increase a team’s performance and effectiveness is less about what to add and more about what to remove. One of the first things to remove, or at least update, are the assumptions that every team member has about their role on the team, the motivations of their fellow teammates, and the scope or importance of the team’s jobs so that everyone can devote his energy to the task at hand. By doing this, businesses can enhance the performances of teams and better prepare teams to communicate effectively. As with benefits of teamwork there are also challenges of working in a team.

Any team will ultimately have its challenges. With effective and open communication, these challenges can be dealt with accordingly. Success in the workplace depends on your ability to interact with others such as employers, peers, coworkers, and clients through

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