Team communication typically begins with task assignments and directives from company and team leaders. Such assignments involve top-down team interactions. Within the team, one -on-one and small group interactions drive information sharing and collaboration on task completion. Teams also share information and back- and forth – discussions through electronic and paper documentation. In a customer service setting for instance, each customer’s account contains call reports so each service team member can see the dialogue that has taken place.
BENEFITS OF TEAM COMMUNICATION
Effective communication is the key to high performance and productivity in a work team. When each person clearly understands his role, listens well to instruction, offers updates and insights, aware of what has been done and what remains to complete.
As far as communication in a team setting is concerned, the following are the benefits derived from it:
1. Identity and cohesion: An indirect result of communication is the development of a sense of identity and cohesion. As team members shares ideas, engage in professional debate and work toward resolutions, they form important bonds that strengthen their problem -solving abilities as a unit.
2. High engagements: Effective communication contributes to high engagement among team members, which leads to happier employees and strong performance. High energy levels and a commitment to look for new opportunities and ideas are tied to high engagement as well.
3. Strong performance: When team members interact regularly, they tend to lay ideas and challenges on the table for group discussion. Doing so allows for piggybacking and building of good ideas into great ones. It also creates opportunities to nip potential problems in the bud.
LIMITATIONS TO TEAM COMMUNICATION
A primary limitation of communication in teams is time. In situations in which time is of the essence, team collaboration can impede a more swift decision made by an individual. Thus, a quick decision by an experienced, autonomous leader’s works better under such circumstances.
Other limitations to team communication are:
1. Office structures: Effective communication typically requires an office arrangement that simplifies opportunities for engagement. An open floor layout without walls and with team members in close quarters works best.
2. Conflicts: Teams go through stages of development, beginning with initial formation. Conflicts between and among employees can occur at any point, but they are especially common during early forming stages before workers build rapport and respect. The ability of team leaders to encourage interpersonal debate and to stifle personal tension is valuable in overcoming conflicts.
3. Communication barriers: Diverse work teams bring broad perspectives, but language and cultural barriers can impede constructive communication. Training on cultural awareness and sensitivity and translators are sometimes needed to overcome these barriers.