April 21, 2009

Leadership and communication

Writing about web page http://www.skagitwatershed.org/~donclark/leader/leadcom.html

Clear, full and effective communication is critical for a team. The leader is responsible for communicating his vision to all the team members and clarify everything needed. In addition,  he/she should ensure and encourage that all the team members share their ideas but also listen to others'. Challenging the other people's views can only be achieved in an environment of good communication because only then can people combine effectively their ideas and improve the existing ones by commenting to what others say and have a proper discussion. Good communication can build brand new ideas because if the team members share their thoughts something new may come up that they never thought or was quite in the contrary of their initial approach. So, a good leader should encourage this kind of procedure and ensure that it takes place because the results can be very good. On the other hand, if effective communication is not achieved the team will probably experience many problems such as misunderstandings, different definitions of the team's objectives and no clear direction of what it is doing and why.This can lead to letting only a couple of members working and probably know what they do and the rest being confused and demotivated.

So, I believe that when I will have the opportunity to lead a team I will ensure that full and effective communication is achieved by encouraging everybody to share ideas and discuss upon them before making a decision. I will also try to communicate my vision as well as I can so everybody has a clear direction.

The attached website just gives some ideas upon the topic and refers to some of the problems in team communication.

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  1. It is true the challenging is an important activitiy within the team, but don’t you think that it is a risky acitivity? I believe that challenging should be one of the activities to be dealth with high care, because if it went out of control it might get the team to the grounds and kill all the creativity.
    What do you think?

    21 Apr 2009, 00:53

  2. Yes Jeries but the only way of being innovative and creative is by challenging the good ideas in order to come out with better ones….. Challenge do not necessary mean argument or conflict. If you have a mature team, with team members treating each other with respect, challenging the ideas is the best way to manage and take out the best possible results…. And I think a good leader is the one that manages to take the best out of his/her team.

    21 Apr 2009, 01:49

  3. Yes pepie.. I do not disagree at all with challenging… It is maybe the most effective way to come out with a refined idea from the meeting, but the point I am trying to make is that this needs to be handled carefully within the team by the team leader, otherwise it might become the most effective way to destroy the team if it went out of control. I believe it is a great technique, but it needs good leadership skills from the leader, specially in big teams.

    21 Apr 2009, 02:09

  4. As we discussed a lot today it all depends on the situation. I agree with both of you that challenging is risky sometimes and also is probably the only way of producing innovative ideas. So I think that a good leader should be conscious of his team potential and also of the team’s project barriers (e.g. limited time) and use the challenging of ideas accordingly. Sometimes teams with very immature or maybe uninterested members in creating something new are not able or willing to challenge each others’ ideas properly so it can be waste of time trying to achieve it. In the contrary, as Pepie said in mature teams it can be very beneficial.

    21 Apr 2009, 21:32

  5. Just want to raise a point about effective communication. I have read “Getting to YES” which is a book about effective negotiation which proposes tools to reaching a win-win situation. The authors raise a point that I beleive is an important aspect of good communication – listening. The authors state that people need to train themselves to be effective listeners in order to make sure that they understand what the speaker is talking about.

    I believe misunderstanding is a common cause of conflict. People argue about different points and due to lack of listening cannot reach a decision or resolve the problems. Therefore, an effective leader must not only know how to listen but also teach his team members to do the same by giving everyone an opportunity to speak and clarifying team’s understanding by restating speaker’s statement(s).

    22 Apr 2009, 17:04

  6. I think communication is the key in most situations as well. Jeries, you’ve thrown “risky aspect” – I’d like to add to this that in my opinion it comes down to the degree of authority the team-leader incorporates. If the team does not respect the team-leader and his decisions, then yes, the group is at risk of loosing their focus. But on the other hand, if the team-leader is strong enough to control the discussions, able to keep a rather impartial stand in these discussions and put a stop when there is too much drift, then I agree with Pepie and Konstantina that these discussion are likely to create good / new ideas.

    I think listening is very important, too. However it is equally important to be opend-minded enough to take other opinions into consideration and to be willing to accept that somebody else’s argument might be better than my one. Think you mentioned that in your last sentence, too Shez.

    27 Apr 2009, 08:04

  7. Alan

    Great post and comments.

    May I say I think that challenging an opinion or viewpoint is positive in the right context.

    For instance, if all of the team have group objectives in mind – and most importantly challenge ideas or opinions from that point of departure – then any challenge cannot be misunderstood or interpreted as personal.

    03 May 2009, 04:52

  8. Thank you for all your comments.

    04 May 2009, 14:11

  9. Limo Hire Nottingham

    Limo Hire Nottingham feels this is a really useful article, great vocab….

    14 May 2009, 10:06

  10. Amrita

    Excellent Post! “Can you imagine the condition of a team without proper communication?” – This is what i was thinking for a minute after reading your post. Definitely, effective communication plays an important role in bringing up new ideas and also improving an individual potential. It can also improve a person’s way of thinking to a great extent.

    18 May 2009, 13:50

  11. Hey konstantina, you have become very popular! How do you think you could establish such an environment (in addition to just saying that everyone should share their ideas)? Do you think it is possible to have effective communication by your definition in a real world environment under tight time schedules? There may not always be time for debate and discussion, is it then appropriate for the leader to take authority? Or do you think that this could undermine any values of teamwork that the leader had been trying to create?

    I completely agree that effective communication is vital, but my point is that the ideal situation isn’t always feasible, whats your plan B?

    18 May 2009, 16:56

  12. Aishani

    Yes I do agree with the post. Clarity and transparent communication can lead to a friendly working environment. At the same time the essential things can be discussed among the team mates before taking important decisions.

    10 Aug 2009, 13:30

  13. Aishani

    Be it a large team or a very small team…. you need to be very clear in communicating your ideas to your team mates. Without proper clarity and understanding within the team, it is difficult to achieve the desired goal.

    24 Aug 2009, 06:42

  14. payroll processing company India

    Leading a team towards its set goal is a challenging job. For that effective communication and clear understanding between team members are really essential.

    04 Sep 2009, 07:42

  15. Cape Cod Hotel

    Leadership quality is either intrinsic or acquired. No doubt it is a difficult task. But it gets easier to convey your messages to the rest of the team with a transparent communication.

    11 Sep 2009, 08:35

  16. Avik

    In order to build an effective team,only technical knowledge is not enough.Proper communication and clear understanding is a must for making a team achieving higher vision.

    12 Sep 2009, 10:52

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