The Law of Communication

Interaction Fuels Action

 

A team in Minneapolis, where our office is located, or elsewhere can be effective only if it has good communication – whether the team is a company, a family, a ministry or a sports team. The members of successful teams perpetually talk to each other. Communication fuels dedication and relationships. Dedication and relationships fire action. In order for your team to operate on a superior plane, team members must communicate with each other. (Good communication can be facilitated with business coaching and training.)

However, poor communication on a team can be frustrating. Team action comes to a standstill, because nobody knows what is going on. People duplicate each others’ duties or an essential duty isn’t started because one person assumes another person is doing it. An organization’s departments clash, because each thinks it is being undermined by the others. 

One definition of business communication is “information sharing among people within and outside an organization that is performed for the commercial benefit of the organization. It can also be defined as the relaying of information within a business by its people.” 1

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The triumphs of your team depend on great communication between team members. To understand this concept in detail, please look over the following four points.

Starting with the Leader to Teammates

“It's about communication. It's about honesty. It's about treating people in the organization as deserving to know the facts. You don't try to give them half the story. You don't try to hide the story. You treat them as - as true equals, and you communicate and you communicate and communicate,” says American businessman Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.

Maybe you’ve read some of leadership expert John Maxwell’s books; then you understand that he believes leadership sets the course for everything we do and are. He also believes that excellent communication is a mark of excellent leadership. A leader must be able to communicate successfully.

If you are a leader, the following principles will help you communicate to your team:

  • Speak reliably. Once you make up your mind about something, stick to it. Earn your people’s respect with consistent messages.

  • Speak plainly. Your team needs to know what you want. Don’t try to astound your team with your brain power. Be direct and honest with your team members in order to win them over.

  • Speak politely. Every person merits being shown consideration, no matter their title or history between you. When you are polite to your team members, you send a message to your entire organization.

Always remember that, as a leader, you are the example your people follow. This applies to communication style, too. Good communication is two-way. The most effective leaders pay attention to what their team members are saying, welcome interaction, and foster involvement.

Returning from the Teammates to the Leader

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Excellent leaders want to be surrounded by people who are straightforward and truthful. When hiring, I look for people who exhibit these qualities. If they — respectfully — disagree with me about something in the interview, that’s okay. I’m not looking to be right all the time; I’m looking for the best ideas.

Bouncing amidst Teammates

Communication is important in a team that strives for success. To be successful, display the following characteristics:

  • Supportive. “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die, said Eleanor Roosevelt. In your communications, concentrate on giving, rather than receiving. You’ll boost your team.

  • Forgiving. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” If teammates focus on each other’s mistakes, eventually the bitterness stops communication, and that, in turn, stops the work. Talking out the problems makes for better communication and inspires work.

  • Open. “Honest communication is built on truth and integrity and upon respect of one for the other,” said Benjamin E. Mays, civil rights leader. We have to be willing to give our teammates the benefit of the doubt, so they’ll do the same for us.

Good communication empowers a team, bad or no communication leads to failure. Remarks John Maxwell, “If the interaction is strong, then the action teams take can be strong. Interaction fuels action.” 2 That’s the spirit of the Law of Communication.

Bouncing between Team Members and the Public

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Generally, for teams, communication with outsiders is significant. Those outsiders could be clients, customers or the public. When dealing with those outside their team, team members should embody the three A’s; being: approachable, alert, and accurate. They should welcome interaction with outsiders, their responses to outsiders should be timely, and their responses should be accurate. If they act with the idea of maintaining long-term relationships with the public, they’ll be on the right track.

Additionally, unity among team members towards outsiders is not to be overlooked. Unity can be challenging with more autonomous teammates, but it is worth cultivating. The benefits of unity are enormous. And unity begins with good communication.

Be a Better Team Member

How dedicated are you to communicating with teammates? Are you more inclined to give to all your teammates than receive from them? Are you forgiving of your teammates’ mistakes? Are you able to be open with your team? It is your responsibility to dismantle any obstacles you see to good communication. Your team is counting on you.

Be a Better Team Leader

As a team leader, you are imitated by your team members, especially in communication style. It’s in your team’s best interest for that style to be reliable, plain and polite. However, a leader should also be a good listener. When leaders listen:

  • They understand more,

  • They hear what isn’t being said out loud,

  • Their team members communicate more, and

  • Their team members stay engaged.

Listening may take more time than you feel you have, but, in the long run, the advantages outweigh the costs. Listening is another part of being a good communicator.

1 Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_communication

2 Maxwell, John, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001) p. 204

The ideas in this blog post were taken from John Maxwell’s book, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.