Encouraging Team Member Communication & Feedback

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  • 0:04 Talk It Out
  • 0:51 Keeping Communication Open
  • 4:01 Encouraging Feedback
  • 5:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Communication and feedback are two important tools in the workplace. In this lesson, you'll learn more about how to encourage team members to contribute in these two areas by implementing a few simple strategies.

Talk It Out

Greg is trying to get the attention of his boss to discuss his tasks in an upcoming team project at work and so far it's not going too well. He sent an email, but his boss never responded. He scheduled a meeting, but it got canceled. He tried speaking up in the weekly team meeting, but got passed over. He even typed up a memo and left it on his manager's desk, but it hasn't been acknowledged. What's a desperate employee to do?

Greg appears to be working in an environment where open lines of communication are not valued. In this lesson, we're going to take a closer look at strategies that leaders can use to keep the lines of communication open and how team members can be encouraged to offer their own feedback on a company's leadership, goals, objectives, and performance.

Keeping Communication Open

Every manager wants happy employees and a productive work environment. Good communication can contribute positively to both. Here are some tips for managers to help keep communication open.

1. Support an open-door policy

It's one thing to say, ''My door is always open,'' and another to do it. How many times have you walked by the offices of managers only to see their door closed? This sends a message that managers are not receptive to being interrupted, and it also creates an actual physical barrier between management and employees.

An open-door policy where team members feel free to approach others encourages regular, on-going communication instead of communication restricted to weekly meetings. This enables employees to seek and find resolutions to project challenges right away, creating a more efficient work environment. It also supports transparency and the idea that management is a part of the team.

2. Give everyone the floor

We've all been in meetings when one or two people dominate the conversation and we become listeners rather than contributors. Managers have an opportunity here to conduct meetings that seek input from all employees. One good trick is to employ the use of the nominal group technique, a method of brainstorming that includes all team members. The nominal group technique works by collecting ideas from every member of the team and then analyzing each suggestion. For team members who may be reluctant to speak up, it can be an effective strategy for including them.

3. Create individual ownership

When team members feel like they own their piece of a project, they will be more likely to be fully engaged and communicative. When team members don't feel ownership in a project, they may participate in a more passive manner, allowing others to shoulder the burden of communication. For many employees, creating a leadership role over their part of the team environment creates a sense of responsibility they will embrace with open arms and communicate about freely.

4. Work on your team synergy

Employees who feel a part of a close-knit team will do a better job communicating openly because they are more comfortable in the team workplace. You can achieve this through team-building activities inside or outside the office, including escape room challenges, obstacle courses, training opportunities, or simple informal get-togethers.

Every meeting of a team does not have to be work-focused. Sometimes meet-ups with a primarily social focus can help bond employees together and give them a chance to get to know one another, which creates greater team synergy in the long run.

5. Use multiple channels

What type of communication tools have you given your employees? Implementing numerous options can make it easier for employees to choose the one that best fits their style, while still keeping communication with the team open.

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