Communication and Workplace Teamwork

No team can exist in a vacuum. In order to work effectively, team members need to communicate effectively with each other, and with the company's management.

Management should make every effort to provide teams with accurate and timely information about the company's plans, goals, concerns, and accomplishments, and how the team fits into each of these areas. It's also important for management to recognize, support and encourage the team's efforts. After all, motivated teams are productive teams.

Within teams, effective communication is equally important. Members should be encouraged to do all of the following:

  • offer new ideas and suggestions
  • share information about their progress
  • request information from other team members about their progress
  • listen carefully to what others are saying, hearing and acknowledging the other team members' insights and offering encouragement
  • build on suggestions offered by other team members
  • keep a record of everything that is said during team meetings, as well as the team's overall progress
  • solve problems and resolve disputes

Conflicts can arise in any group setting; workplace teams are no exception. Constant infighting can have a detrimental effect on the team if it's allowed to continue. However, if conflicts are resolved effectively, they can actually strengthen the group and enhance its compatibility.

Here are a few simple ways to prevent and resolve conflicts:

  • Make sure each team member is shouldering an equal share of the work burden so no one feels frustrated or resentful
  • Have a clear set of rules and responsibilities team members need to follow
  • Make sure the team leader resolves conflicts effectively. The leader should address complaints objectively and offer constructive criticism, rather than placing blame.
  • If the team leader can't resolve the dispute, bring in a management team leader or consultant to act as a mediator.