15 Ways To Improve Your Communication With Your Team

Show me an ineffective leader and I will show you a poor communicator. So often leadership is all about successfully conveying a message to the team. A true leader is able to deliver a solid and clear and yes, effective message, to those following her.

Effective communications have often shaped history.

Like this one from Winston Churchill: “We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, We shall never surrender.” And the United Kingdom did not surrender and went on to win the war.

Or this one:

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe, otherwise why even be here?” Steve Jobs and yes he did.

Or this one: “In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.” Hank Aaron and he did.

Or my personal favorite: ‘What we have here is a failure to communicate.” The Captain played by Strother Martin in Cool Hand Luke (sorry I couldn’t help myself!)

Effective communication is crucial for any team leader. Clear and concise communication not only ensures that your team understands your expectations and goals but also fosters an environment of collaboration and open dialogue. To achieve this, here are the top 15 things you can do to make sure communications with your team are clear, concise, and effective:

  • Set Clear Objectives: Define your team’s objectives and goals clearly. Make sure everyone understands what they are working towards. Clarity in objectives helps align team efforts. 
    1. Active Listening: That one again! We all need a lesson in listening. There is way too much talking and not enough listening. Actively listen to your team members. Show genuine interest in their ideas and concerns. When they feel heard, they are more likely to engage in meaningful communication.
  • Open Door Policy: Encourage an open-door policy where team members feel comfortable approaching you with questions, suggestions, or problems. This promotes a culture of transparency and accessibility. Talk things over, even if it’s painful…especially if it’s painful.
  • Give Examples Use stories: To Illustrate what you are talking about with examples and stories which are remembered long after any other type of communications. People always remember stories.
  • Communicate non-verbally: Emphasize your words with your eyes and your gestures. Really look at the people in your audience to let them feel that you are talking directly to them.
    1. Be consistent: Maintain consistent communication channels, whether it’s regular team meetings, emails, or messaging apps. Consistency reduces confusion and fosters predictability.
    2. Take responsibility: Even if the message you are delivering comes from “upstairs” as in your boss, you have to own it. Never say things like, “They wanted me to tell you this.” Own your message or don’t say it at all.
  • Ask for Feedback: Encourage team members to provide feedback on your communication style. Constructive criticism can help you improve and adapt your approach.
  • Encourage Questions: Foster a culture where team members are comfortable asking questions. Questions often lead to clarity and deeper understanding. Be willing to stop and reach out to your audience to show that you are really communicating and not just giving a speech. Encourage dialog.
  • Encourage Team Participation: Actively encourage team members to share their ideas and opinions. Create a safe space for brainstorming and creative thinking. And then make sure you let them know you appreciate their comments and contributions
  • Constructive Feedback: Provide constructive feedback in a supportive manner. Focus on specific actions or behaviors and suggest improvements rather than criticizing individuals.
  • Collaborative Decision-Making: Involve your team in decision-making processes when appropriate. This not only leads to better decisions but also promotes a sense of ownership and commitment.
  1. Empower Team Members: Empower team members to take ownership of tasks and projects. Give them the autonomy to make decisions within their areas of expertise.
  2. Make everyone feel like they matter: Because they do. The folks in the audience are the most important part of the communications process.
  3. Be Authentic: Speak from the heart. Be real, be genuine. Make sure you mean what you say because if you don’t that will come across in a New York minute! A phony can be spotted a mile away.

Look, It’s not that tough to talk to people. In fact, it is the most important thing you can do as a true leader. You can lead your team to success while also learning and growing together. Remember that effective leadership is built on effective communication, and the results will be reflected in your team’s productivity and morale.

Oh, and one more thing, communicating effectively is ongoing. It does not stop when your message is delivered. It is not a one and done thing but rather something that you have to say repeatedly so that the message becomes embedded in the daily life of your organization. That in the end is the real key to ongoing effective communications. It’s only common sense.