Team and Management Communication is a Two-Way Street

Team leaders have a tough job when it comes to communication. You have to adapt your communication style to get the most from team members and do it again when you’re communicating with upper management. While you’re going through hoops to communicate the right way, it may often feel your company leadership doesn’t have a clue what your team contributes to the bottom line of the business.

It might feel like they just send down “commands” that are outside of the scope of your team. How do you deal with it? Is there a way to influence and manage what comes your team’s way?

It’s a fact of life these days that businesses must change quickly to respond to rapidly changing markets. To help your team be a winner instead of a victim of changes, communication should be your top priority. Upward, downward and sideways communication!

Be careful not to let your team get too caught up in their day-to-day work and forget that management must be kept informed. Your team has the responsibility here. And your role is the messenger. Do you have an established procedure for keeping management abreast of what’s happening with your team? If not, it’s easy to set up.

How to Keep Communication Channels Open

First and foremost, make sure your team is aware of the objectives of the overall business and that the team’s objectives help make the business objectives successful! Each team member should understand how their role enables the business to meet those objectives. Second, establish a regular communication channel with management. Here are some suggestions.

  • Communicate regular status reports.
  • Invite a management team member to one of your team meetings.
  • Present ideas for regular communication “up the line.”
  • Link your communication to bottom line objectives.
  • Ask your management team how and how often they want communication from your team.
  • Indicate your team’s desire to help the company be successful.

Having an open communication channel can help your team be the winner. Awareness, by management, of the impact your team makes on the business can help you influence the boundaries of the work you receive. Awareness, on the teams part, of the overall business issues can help your team seize opportunities that can make you even more successful.

How do you keep the communication channels open? Please share your ideas.

Denise O'Berry

Denise O’Berry — aka the Team Doc — has been working with teams and team leadership in the public, non profit and private sectors for over twenty years. Follow her @askteamdoc.

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  • http://www.tiffanyforsale.com tiffany jewellery

    Having an open culture of multi-way feedback on your team gives everyone a chance to grow. Plus it opens up communication channels and keeps everyone on the same page.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.saigun.com Maj Gen B K Bhatia

    Your ability to listen as a manager helps more in understanding your team members & thus communicating positively. You have sometimes to interpret their body language too. I have come across many leaders who do detailed briefings on the objectives to be accomplished, targets to be achieved & processes to be followed, but the outcome adds little to the bottom line. Reason: they never listened to what their subordinates were communicating. Only by making communication a two way traffic, you can manage teams effectively.

    [Reply]

    Denise O'Berry Reply:

    @Maj Gen B K Bhatia, you are so right. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Listening is a critical skill for a team leader — to both what is said and what is not said.

    [Reply]

  • http://howwepartner.com/ kare anderson

    What a helpful post… again. An explicit way to adapt to each other's styles can be agreeing on exactly how you will communicate as one of the specific Rules of Engagement that the team collectively agrees on as an acceptable “middle path” that can work for them all

    [Reply]

  • http://www.movingfrommetowe.com KareAnderson

    What a helpful post – not “just” for business situations but also for member-based groups and – this may seem a stretch and one might change the language a bit – for families. You are so wise

    [Reply]

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  • fazlinacy

    I love reading this article, however appreciate if i can have further explanation on the phrase of ” up the line”. tqvm

    [Reply]

    Intuit QuickBase Reply:

    Up the chain of command, or in other words, to communicate the team’s goals and priorities that support the greater business goals to senior management (giving the team greater visibility with their manager’s manager, etc.) HTH

    [Reply]

    fazlinacy Reply:

    tq for the reply, therefore how i can effectively interpret the phrase of “Present ideas for regular communication “up the line.””.

    [Reply]