Make the Dream Work

Dr. Toye Latimore
January 22, 2021

In terms of how co-workers can effectively communicate there are indeed tactical strategies to employ. A Clemson University study outlines some aspects for proper communication within the prism of teamwork:

1.  Focus on the behavior or problem, not on the person. People become defensive when criticized personally. Keep the discussion focused on the task and the issues.

2.  Make sure what you say and what you do are giving the same message. In other words, keep your verbal and nonverbal language on the same page. This limits confusion.

3.  Validate others’ contributions. Compliment team members on good ideas and suggestions. This makes them feel a part of the team and encourages future participation.

4.  Make sure everyone has a chance to speak. 

5.  Share. It’s not what you know, but what you share that makes you an expert.  Clasping tightly onto knowledge is a job security ploy of the 20th century.  In today’s world, successful thought-leaders prove their expertise to those around them.  The best way to show you’re an expert is to use your genius to help others including those outside your departments.

6.  Conscript Allies: Building alliances are crucial to effective communication. I’m not talking about gathering allies for the sake of winning political office battles or shielding yourself from reprimand by getting cozy with key players, but the art of conveying your ideas in such a way that builds a critical mass of support for action. Good communicators can inspire people to want to sponsor an initiative that would otherwise be quickly discarded. The best way to form alliances around projects is to present well-researched data that highlights an area of need, an insightful hypothesis solution, and a model for tracking success or failure. Tell a story which resonates with the stakeholder on how it benefits her needs. Approaching colleagues and key decision-makers in this manner is the most effective way to communicate importance and receive buy-in for crucial priorities.   

7.  Practice what you preach. Many in leadership think proper communication is simply telling a group what they should do, but talking does not necessarily indicate that you’re communicating. In fact, your actions speak much louder than words. If you want people to think you run a data-driven company, the projects you prioritize and deliver should be those that are validated by data. Companies who value social media should see their leaders actively engaging with and growing their social footprints while also deftly promoting branded content. Similarly, you can’t call yourself a technology company while separating your business plan from your technology plan. A company must be conscientious of not communicating false signals to its employees, and being acutely aware of the alignment of actions and words does that.

I read this article and have adopted some of its principles.  Which one of these principles do you feel you have encountered in your career and how did you overcome that barrier? I say barrier because if one does not recognize first that they are exhibiting one of these behaviors, it can become a barrier to workplace success. 

Reference: Make the Dream Work: 5 Reasons Why Teamwork is Crucial to Workplace Success by Shlomo Wiesen; Business.com / Managing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017