It’s the million-dollar question: Why is communication important in a team? Well, for starters, effective team communication – that means active listening and open communication – helps create a productive, enjoyable work environment. If you communicate effectively in the workplace, your team will likely feel supported and motivated to work toward common goals. And that’s just the start of why communication is so important.
The following is a comprehensive overview of why communication is key. It’ll also teach you how to get better at communication across the board.
Why is communication important in a team?
Strong team communication leads to a happier, more fulfilling workplace. It reinforces bonds through team building, and it shows your team that all voices are welcome. Below are the main reasons – there are dozens more; these are just the big ones! – why you should prioritize open communication.
- Improves collaboration
- Gets everyone closer to their goals
- Makes for a better exchange of ideas
- Promotes healthy work dynamics
- Grows innovation
- Diminishes conflict
1 Improves collaboration
Two heads are truly better than one, and that’s why the best managers always push for team collaboration. Great communication pushes your team members directly toward collaboration.
Clear communication will help everyone understand their roles and everyone else’s roles, so they’ll know who – and when – to ask for support and guidance. It also makes cross-functional collaboration more realistic since your teams will know who’s doing what – and how they could work together.
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2Gets everyone closer to their goals
Since great group communication can lead to effective teamwork, you’ll likely witness more team members reaching their goals. That’s because they’ll know who to turn to when they get stuck, and they won’t be afraid to ask for help. Plus, effective communication keeps everyone in the know and on top of details. When your organization prioritizes keeping people in the loop, everyone has more of what they need to hit all their marks.
3Makes for a better exchange of ideas
Teams work best together when there’s a culture of openness – when people know that their voices matter and their ideas are welcome. This environment sparks creativity and engagement, which in turn both lead to free-flowing insights and great ideas. It can help employees feel inspired – and confident – to share that new idea they had out of nowhere for their most recent project. And then, the whole team can discuss building that idea into something great.
4Promotes healthy work dynamics
Good communication in teams can lead to happier and healthier employees. Just think about it: It’s human nature to want connection and understanding, and communication plays a huge role in that. In fact, one source has found that 96 percent of employees want all workplace communication to be chock full of understanding and empathy. These values are always within reach when you communicate well. When you focus on communication, you show your employees that you value them, which can make them happier.
Stagnation is an organization’s greatest enemy. That’s why your team should always be innovating to stay ahead of the competition. And with open communication where all ideas and opinions are welcome, your team is less likely to shy away from the excitement of change. Your team members might feel fearless about speaking up during a brainstorming session or challenging existing methods in favor of better approaches. You’re basically producing an eternal spark in the air you can light at any time.
A lack of communication can make people feel unheard. That creeping silence can create tension and make conflict resolution way tougher. Virtually none of this is a problem when you already have strong work relationships and clear communication practices. These both make team members more likely to kindly settle their disputes rather than stew in their frustrations. And you really don’t want the latter – it’s how you lose team members time and again.
You can’t avoid conflict entirely – everyone has different personalities, perspectives, and opinions. The key is to work through differences and make people feel comfortable so that disagreements don’t become personal or unsolvable.
How to improve team communication
Now, you know why communication is so important for your team. But as a team leader, you also need to know how to improve team communication. Well, you’re in luck – you’ll find some great tips below.
- Establish objectives for team communication
- Create time and space for important conversations
- Always be clear
- Show consideration for others
- Seek peer feedback often
- Keep it simple
1Establish objectives for team communication
When you pay attention to how your team communicates, you might start to see the cracks in your team’s foundation. And once you know what’s wrong, you can set goals for improving your team’s communication. These goals can include scheduling brainstorming sessions or exploring team bonding ideas. When you help your team members connect in low-stress social situations, they might come out of their shells and get more on the same page.
2Create time and space for important conversations
Anyone can get better at something with practice. That’s true for team communication too. So set up spaces to build and maintain team communication – try regularly acknowledging team wins or opening the floor to fresh ideas. This can look like a weekly or bi-monthly team meeting, regular one-on-one meetings with individual team members, or simply spontaneous moments of celebration.
Michael Lopp, a.k.a. Rands, the author of Managing Humans and The Art of Leadership, has additional insight on the value of one-on-ones. “The important part of regular 1-on-1s is not that information is conveyed, but it’s about you being consistent as a leader,” he says. “What is more important than trust and respect in all directions on a team? A 1-on-1 over time will show your team that you care about that.”
3Always be clear
Since everyone does work differently, you should be as clear as possible when sharing anything important (or not as important). This tip is equally important in face-to-face meetings, emails, quick Slack messages, and any other business communication channels. Always use straightforward language and be as direct as possible when giving instructions, and don’t forget to leave room for questions.
4Show consideration for others
Everyone wants to feel respected, and that’s true at work too. When an employee feels understood and heard, they’ll naturally feel more invested in their work than if they were overlooked. That’s why you should be respectful of your team, their time, and their goals. You can even be considerate when you give negative feedback. As long as you’re kind and you gently show the team member what to do instead, you’re doing it right.
People don’t respond well to shame or blame, but they’re likely to take advice when it’s thoughtful. Have your team’s best interest in mind, always – and never give negative feedback in bad faith.
5Seek peer feedback often
Being a team leader means regularly asking your team for feedback. That’s how you create a collaborative environment – when everyone gets a say, the space better reflects everyone. And with Fellow’s feedback tools, your team can easily share real-time feedback on meetings, projects, and team member performance. You’ll quickly see how you can improve your communication and learn what your team needs to thrive.
6Keep it simple
You don’t have to do anything brazen, bold, or unusual to lead to great team communication. Instead, just look to other resources, mentors, or team leaders for tips and tricks. And if that well dries up, you can always return to this article for ideas.
Keep your team in the know
When you communicate effectively with your team, you create endless opportunities for success. Employees are more likely to feel valued, stay on track with their projects, and freely share ideas. And with Fellow, you can seek peer feedback, plan and hold great meetings, and share notes – all great ways to communicate and keep everyone accountable. When you communicate well, anything is possible.