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Team management can foster communication

Posted online

by Alice Wingo

for the Business Journal

Communication is key in any workplace setting. And for the small business in particular, team management, with its focus on shared ideas, common goals and multiple perspectives, can facilitate communication.

Good office communication is accomplished through three key areas. Those areas are the team management environment, the mission statement and the physical office environment, including advanced office communications technology.

Team management environment. To foster good communications, establishing a team management philosophy is a good place to start. The team management environment should focus on positive attitudes of individuals and teams; individual and team accountability; organizational support; and recognition and reward.

However, stumbling blocks to good teams, and therefore good communication, can include the fears of managers and associates.

Managers often fear subordinates' becoming their own managers, wary that they will lose their jobs because the team manages itself.

Managers may also feel their skills are not being utilized in the team environment, particularly when the manager's job description through the team environment is not well defined.

On the other hand, associates are often not convinced that team management will work and fear their personal style and capabilities are not compatible with the team environment.

Associates may also be concerned that the organization doesn't support the transition to teamwork.

These fears will take time to overcome, and some people may never completely transform to the total team concept. The organization must take a strong leadership role in making, and supporting, the transition to teams.

Once you have your team on the right track, with all members of the team working for the same goals and having the same allegiance, the communications in the office will become enhanced to a level that your clients will be asking, "What have you done in your office to become so efficient? Each time I visit your office, everyone here seems like they really enjoy their work!"

Mission statement. First of all, all team members should have a part in developing the mission statement. Then, the mission statement should be kept out in view for all members to refer to frequently.

Keep focused on the mission statement, reinforcing its message often. When the team believes in and has ownership of the mission statement, communication comes naturally.

Physical office environment. Your office's communication technology is key to fostering good communication. The telephone system is the most crucial form of office communications, allowing inter-office communication between divided offices (i.e. conferencing, intercom).

Computer e-mail is also essential to a busy environment, eliminating unnecessary interruptions, enabling members to manage time in responses, and keeping an organized record of the communications. This also allows the team to "chat" throughout the workday, enabling all members to become an integral part of a conversation regarding an issue.

Voice mail can be an even better form of communication when wanting to clarify the emotional realm of the conversation. E-mail can sometimes sometimes be misconstrued.

All of the above parts of communications in the workplace can only be accomplished if all of the members of the organization are focused and dedicated to the same goal.

That goal is derived directly from the mission statement of the organization, formed and approved by all members of the organization's team. Remember, a team is only as good as its leaders.

(Alice Wingo heads the Springfield office of The Employer Advantage.)

INSET CAPTION:

Once all the members of the team are working for the same goals, the communications in the office will be enhanced.[[In-content Ad]]

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