Importance of Team Communication Skills
by Leigh Richards, Demand Media

Team communication skills are critical for ensuring the success of the team effort, whether the team is charged with creating a new product, making a process improvement, or planning the summer picnic. Strong team communication skills can help build relationships, ensure the sharing of new ideas and best practices, and benefit team members through coaching and counseling.

Cohesiveness

Effective teams need to work well together and that team cohesiveness depends on building strong relationships among team members. Communication is critical and is driven by the team leader who will work with the team to establish ground rules and work to bring the team together so that it can accomplish its goals. All teams will go through expected stages of development, from forming to storming to “norming,” and eventually, performing, according to business consultant Bruce Tuckman. Navigating through these stages effectively will help teams build relationships.

Sharing

When team communication skills are strong, it raises the chance that good ideas and best practices will be shared openly says Lin Grensing-Pophal, author of “Employee Management for Small Business.” Team members can be hesitant to provide input for fear of being criticized or having their ideas dismissed, says Grensing-Pophal. Teams that can establish an open, positive and supportive environment among team members are in a better position to hear those good ideas and learn from the best practices of the group.

Professional Development

Effective team communication can lead to both personal and professional development. Team leaders will be influenced by the coaching and counseling skills of the team leader and, when the team leader is a positive role model, these insights can help employees improve their own communication skills. Strong team communication skills can also help team members learn how to manage conflict in positive ways, an important professional development skill, says Grensing-Pophal. “Too often, we can have a tendency to avoid conflict,” she says. “By learning to respond to conflict in positive ways, both employees and companies can benefit.”