Communication among team members has been a key point of interest for many researchers and scientists, in particular ones that consider it an integral part in the process of managerial problem solving and decision making, and believe in the management jargon extended from the word T.E.A.M.: â€śTogether Everyone Achieves Moreâ€ť (check out Wales, J. (n.d.). Managing Groups and Teams. Retrieved from Wiki Books ). Poor communication can be under many situations the cause of essential problems in any organization.
According to research, 90% of the CEOs of the top-notch companies across the world consider that internal communication among teams in an organization determines the success or the failure of the organization. (check outÂ Increase Productivity through Internal Communications . (n.d.). Retrieved from Karma Snack ). The inability of certain employees to work in a team causes interferences and disturbances to the team, where the main message gets distorted or misunderstood. This disturbance is called by experts â€śnoiseâ€ť.
Another important term would be â€śCommunication Breakdownâ€ť, defined as the inability of team members to comprehend due to inadequate training, misunderstanding, differing backgrounds, value judgments, stereotyping and lack of respect as main conflicts; all of which cause direct reduction in the productivity rates, and indirect reduction due to other factors induced by the low levels of communication including loss of trust, reduced cooperation, reduced risk taking, personal attacks, sabotage, complaints, team breakup , and individual resignation.
Other experts have focused more on soft costs of low communication in contrast to the hard cost represented as productivity rates. Those soft costs includes major loss in time, lowered morale, lowered team spirits , loss of opportunities, damaged working environment of relationship and lowered efficiency and quality ; all of which take the highest rating among other soft costs.
While many experts focus on the importance of employee communication among each others in a group, others shed more light on the importance of certain amount of communication conflicts within a team. They consider that both too little and too much communication are signs of a communication breakdown. Interesting huh? While too much communication is considered unrealistic, because the opportunities that the whole team thinks alike is extremely low, too low communication is criticized because some conflicts can actually lead to creative leaps of imagination.
Increased team productivity results from developing a range of communication protocols. Management does in fact carry certain accountability to provide effective planning and effective team organization. (Also from Wales, Managing Groups and Teams).
The emphasis on teamwork is nowadays a part of every job description, as teamwork not only helps generating better productivity and goal accomplishment, but it is also the founding stone of any successful organizationâ€™s work culture. (check out Teamwork helps productivity. (2010, 11 1). Retrieved from Citeman NetworkÂ )
Many researchers have also focused on the significance of teamwork in the areas that require creative solving of different tasks, a high degree of adaptability, and operational management. They show how the inability of employees to work in a team hinders knowledge, information exchange, as well as the potential for innovation that may add value to products or services. Add to that, effective teamwork decreases non productive hours which therefore increases productivity and ensures maximum utilization of manpower all of which help in achieving the companyâ€™s goals. (check out Teamwork and high performance work organization . (2007, 2 12). Retrieved from European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions)
Teamwork is considered very important due to the fact that, when work is distributed among individuals, it reduces the work load on each individual and in turn ensures more optimization and efficiency. In addition that its benefits for both employees and company are wide, especially in the terms of the latter where the companyâ€™s productivity rates are very sensitive to communication gaps in teams. (for more on when team work is better, and when not, check out our article Is team work really better?)
Now on to the solutions .. Solutions to communication breakdowns were researched by many. First of all when attempting to resolve the issue, the researcher should look for some symptoms which include: groups in the organization failing to reach their goals, mistakes cropping up more and more often, and productivity dull or at zero level. (check out: 6 Powerful Ways to Solve Communication Problems at Work. (2007, 7 19). Retrieved from Articles Base). If such symptoms exist, a communication problem is then recognized and the researcher can choose now among different alternatives according to the situation.
One of the most workable solutions is to establish chains of command and assign responsibility within the team members. (Also from 6 Powerful Ways to Solve Communication Problems at Work, 2007)
Other solutions include setting a motivation plan, such as giving employees a positive vision of the future, telling employees that they are appreciated, demonstrating leadership, and giving training in communication skills to employees. (check out Shawn Smith, J. (n.d.). Improving Workplace Communications and Infrastructure. Retrieved from Next Level Consulting )
Poor communication does account for a multitude of workplace woes– including interpersonal conflict, wasted money and effort, poor productivity, legal exposure, low morale and high turnover– but the types and causes of communication problems vary as widely as their impact, and thus need to be resolved and not neglected to avoid worse crisis for the entire organization which may face loss of control and eventually breakdown. (Also Shawn Smith)
To look at other communication problems and resolutions, you might want to have a look at our article entitled body language in the workplace. Let us hear your thoughts!