I am a strong proponent of clear, authentic communications. One of the great challenges of leadership, however, is making sure messages are conveyed and received clearly. Unfortunately, there is a tendency sometimes for communications to be misconstrued and misinterpreted. So no matter how much you may try, words and the messages to be conveyed are not always heard or received in the manner in which they were intended.
It is so important to encourage open and authentic conversations to ensure effective team dynamics. There is an expectation that highly functioning teams will have a genuine desire to be collaborative and engaging. Trust takes time to develop but once it has been achieved , we should strive for understanding and consensus. By nature, highly functioning teams will flourish because of the richness of diverse thought. It is to be expected that opinions will differ but all should work to seek common group while showing respect.
What is most important in team dynamics is recognizing when communications have been misinterpreted. Then, it is necessary to stop, to address it head on before the wrong information is passed along.
Here are the steps that I find helpful in trying to work to achieve clear communications and common ground.
- Create an environment that encourages open dialogue that is honest and direct
- Model authentic communications while providing a safe zone for differing opinions
- If delivering a message, check for understanding and ask for feedback
- If receiving a message, repeat, and confirm understanding by re-stating the message
- Ask for clarification if unclear or confused
- In all communications, assume that there is a genuine desire to find common ground, not a willingness to confuse and distort
- If you did not hear or understand, don’t fill in gaps with assumptions.
- Remember it is always ok to just say….What???