Both communication and collaboration get a lot of attention when you work in teams. What happens when you bring them together – is there a particular way to communicate within teams that enhances collaboration? The nature of communication within a team is inherently different from one-on-one communication.
What could be guidelines for collaborative communication within your team? First would be the acknowledgement, by all team members, that they each have a voice that matters. That is a value that will generate respect for, and support the dignity of, each individual. Another may be identifying the methods you will use to assure that what needs to be communicated will be – possibly through staff meetings, reports, written and oral communication. Focus is needed on how the team communicates – choice of words, body language, emotional intelligence, what is communicated to whom. Communication should reflect respect for the diversity of the team – taking that into consideration, as each team member communicates.
Collaboration is something that takes effort- communication within a collaboration deserves that effort as well. How is the collaboration communication within your team?
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Last night I discovered Pharrel Williams’ 24 hour music video “Happy”. When was it decided that we would not be happy in our work? To what purpose? Work may be demanding or strenuous, but why is it okay if we are unhappy? Perhaps we need to course-correct, as a society, and value ourselves enough that we seek out happiness in our work. Employers will have to value happiness as well. It’s a great starting point to improve the condition of society and our own lives.
In November, I debuted a monthly newsletter titled Working Happy. Something’s happening here. We are hearing of Chief Happiness Officers in organizations. People are saying “enough” to bully bosses and organizations. Let’s go there and make happiness a primary value for our work. We’ll be more productive and innovative and life will be so much better.
photo: Dmytro Konstantynov, Dreamstime Photos
1. Step back and take every opportunity to observe and understand upper management – what their priorities, stresses, styles and challenges are. Compare them with yours.
2. Find the win-wins between your goals and those of upper management and go for them.
3. Do your job extremely well, so that upper management takes notice of what you can contribute.
4. Collaborate with all levels of your organization, so that upper management’s job is easier.
5. Communicate clearly, giving just the right amount of information; not wasting their time, but providing what they need.
6. Communicate your and your teams’ successes.
7. When problems occur, think them out and bring upper management solid options for solving them.
8. Accept accountability for your and your team’s performance.
9. Be true to yourself, so that upper management knows who you are.
10. Ask for feedback and take it to heart.
photo: TeddyBear(Picnic), FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My hope is that you are having a quiet day, either at work or away. Quiet time is a necessity and something to treasure.
photo: dan, freedigitalphotos.net
As a manager, do you face challenges with team members and others who are always late? Many of us do! There is a range of response to this – it is inconsiderate, it is not a big deal, you won’t tolerate it, you are always late yourself. There are also consequences – frustration of those who are on time, time wasted, team disruptions and tension.What can you do about it? Here are a few ideas:
• Make your expectations clear to your team and others that you expect them to be on time. Let them know it is an important performance measure.
• Start team or individual meetings at the scheduled times. If people are late, it is their responsibility to get up to speed. I have found that this practice has immediate results in most cases. People don’t want to miss out.
• Have ways to respond when it is inevitable that you or others are late – for example, have meeting minutes or some other recording method available to all, recap at the end of meetings with action items or ask a team member to bring the person up to speed on what occurred (This should not be the norm, but available when it does happen.)
• Make sure when you ask people to be somewhere, there’s a good reason and you are respectful of their time, never wasting it.
There are enough demands on everyone’s time. Dealing with people who are always late has to go.
photo: Marek Uliasz, Dreamstime.com
Last week I had a conversation with a person who was starting out as a manager. He was a high performer brought in to lift performance in an organization. We talked about the challenges he faced and developing his skills. I told him my perspective that people are not born managers. All of us have to develop skills, even as we bring our innate talents to our work as managers.
I think the two biggest challenges a new manager faces are dealing with the emotions and personalities of your team and having to get your own work done, while managing the work of others. When I began my management career at the US Environmental Protection Agency, all new managers took a mandatory training class. The class helped us with the basics and gave us a good start.
The idea that people will walk into their first management position ready to go, with no learning curve, is a fallacy.
If you are starting out as a manager, or have new managers on your team, make sure that you recognize that the transition to being a manager needs time and attention. There is no better investment an organization can make.
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Managing has enough challenges – adding pressure to the mix can undo you. Pressure comes in many forms – direct pressure from others to produce; unrealistic expectations; not having the resources and time you need; your own fears of whether you and your team can deliver – to name a few.
How can you deal with pressure when it starts to be too much? You can get away for a short time to regain perspective and prevent a situation that you may regret later. You can communicate clearly to others why their expectations are creating pressure – in a positive context of finding a way to meet those expectations. You can get fully present in the moment and map out a way for you and your team to deal with the pressure.
Handling pressure effectively asks a lot of you. It asks you to stay balanced and healthy, which aids you in dealing with the effects of pressure. It asks you to be able to stretch when you need to. It asks for discernment, so you know when to jump and when jumping is futile. It asks for confidence in your abilities and those of your team.
Developing your skill for handling pressure will propel your career and your performance. Take a look at how you handle the pressure of your job and develop your ability to manage pressure well.
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
One of the best things you can offer to people you manage is being very clear in what you are asking of them. This involves not only clear communication, but also clear thinking. Not easy to do, when things are moving quickly around you and work volume is high. However, efficiency and effectiveness require it.
Your team needs to know what your expectations are and they need your guidance. Making an assumption that you do not need to be clear because your team knows what you are thinking, is dangerous. Doing so, may force your team to create their own assumptions on how to proceed, that may not align with yours. Paramount to clear communication is spending the time to think things out, finding effective means for your team to meet their goals and knowing what direction you are going in.
Getting clear takes time, but it is an investment worth making. How can you lead without it?
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Does productivity have an affinity to going fast or to going slow? People would argue both sides. Some may say speed is required in our fast-paced world, or you will be left behind. Others may say if you want quality and you want to endure, you go slowly. This keeps you centered.
It may not be an either/or choice, but the way you lean on this will affect the nature of your productivity.
What do you think?
photo: Danilo Rizzuti, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Work nowadays can be 24/7. You will not survive, in the long run, without balance and down time in your life. How do you disconnect from your work as a manager?
Disconnecting is not about a 5-minute break or about coming home from work exhausted, going to bed and starting again in the morning. Nor, is it about taking a vacation once a year. The nature of disconnecting is breaking your connection to work. It is not always easy to make a break. We go at such a fast pace and have so much pressure, that a momentum builds, that is hard to stop. Many organizations keep up this pace and are not encouraging about breaking from it.
Disconnecting often requires you to make a hard stop. It also requires strong intent and being convinced of its value to you. But, if you find a way, at least once a week, to disconnect from your work you will find your efficiency, productivity and satisfaction increasing exponentially. How do you disconnect from your work?
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