Do you have time to communicate?

Photo courtesy of Cindee Snider Re (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Cindee Snider Re (Creative Commons)

The more important question might be, “what if you don’t take time to communicate?”

Communication does take time. A lot of time. But the problems created by not communicating clearly can take even more time to correct.

We’re going through a lot of transition where I work, and I’m relearning first-hand about communicating clearly. We have struggled with communication in the past, so it’s especially important to correct that issue now in order to move forward positively. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, it’s important to make sure the pieces fit together well, and that can only happen through good communication.

When going through change, it’s easy for people to feel out of the loop and uninvested in the situation. By being sure to let people know what the changes are and why they are being made, they feel more a part of the team. If they understand the reasoning behind the changes, and how the leaders expect the changes to improve the organization, it’s easier for them to get on board too.

Another piece of the puzzle is making sure people understand the expectations, both in their own jobs, and what others are expected to do. For instance, throughout this transition, my job has changed and I’ve taken on some different responsibilities. I’m making sure to let the rest of the team know what things I’m responsible for, such as ordering supplies or serving as the point of contact for maintenance, so if someone needs something, they know who to contact. Saves a lot of delays if they know to contact me right away when they need something.

But sharing this information takes a lot of my time, and it has to be very intentional. That means extra meetings, so you can let the group know about policy and procedure adjustments. It may mean tracking people down during the day to share key facts, like where particular supplies have been relocated or reorganized.

One of the bonuses of the increased focus on communication has been a resurgence in sharing throughout the team. It’s not just coming from me, but others are starting to share not just back to me, but with each other. There is better teamwork, and more smiles. People don’t feel so left out and isolated. And we’re finding better solutions for our challenges by working together more – brainstorming places to store things or how to improve some of our processes.

The puzzle is starting to look more complete. The more we communicate, the more pieces come together.

How can you improve your team with better communication?