By Denise O’Berry
Team leaders have a tough job when it comes to communication. You have to adapt your communication style to get the most from team members and do it again when you’re communicating with upper management.
While you’re going through hoops to communicate the right way, it may often feel your company leadership doesn’t have a clue what your team contributes to the business. It might feel like they just send down “commands” that are outside of the scope of your team.
How do you deal with it? Is there a way to influence and manage what comes your team’s way? It’s a fact of life these days that businesses must change quickly to respond to rapidly changing markets. To help your team be a winner instead of a victim of changes, communication should be your top priority. Upward, downward and sideways communication!
It would be easy for your team to get caught up in their day-to-day work and forget that management must be kept informed. But your team has the responsibility here. And your role is to be the messenger. Do you have an established procedure for keeping management abreast of what’s happening with your team? If not, it’s easy to set up.
How to Keep Communication Channels Open
First and foremost, make sure your team is aware of the objectives of the overall business and that the team’s objectives help make the business objectives successful! Each team member should understand how their role enables your company to meet those objectives. Second, establish a regular communication channel with management. Here are some suggestions.
- Communicate regular status reports.
- Invite a management team member to one of your team meetings.
- Present ideas for regular communication “up the line.”
- Link your communication to bottom line objectives.
- Ask your management team how and how often they want communication from your team.
- Indicate your team’s desire to help the company be successful.
Having an open communication channel can help your team be the winner. Awareness, by management, of the impact your team makes on the business can help you influence the boundaries of the work you receive. Awareness, on the teams part, of the overall business issues can help your team seize opportunities that can make you even more successful.
Denise O’Berry – aka the Team Doc – has been working with teams and team leadership in the public, non profit and private sectors for over twenty years. Based on that experience, Denise has created the Team Building Toolbox for Busy Managers, a program specifically designed to help you navigate the team building minefield to get it right — the first time.