Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Understanding Group Communications

Group communications are essential to successful organizations.

Leaders can improve group communication by:
  1. increasing team communication
  2. improving organizational communication
  3. using informal communication networks.
Increasing team communication
There are a number of things you can do to improve the way your group shares information. Some of these are shown below:
  • Use a variety of formats to get the team together to talk, including team meetings, informal chats, and scheduled informational discussions.
  • Ensure everyone understands the purpose of these sessions.
  • Ensure that the group understands how proud you are of their work.
  • Some people in a group can be bashful about raising questions, so you could attempt to anticipate their needs when responding to others' questions.
  • You could use newsletters, bulletin boards, and e-mail to communicate with your team.
Improving organizational communication
In addition to improving communications, it is important to contribute to the communications of the larger organization. The following are examples of how contributions to organizational communications could be made:
  • Every organization needs a dependable internal communications program. In larger companies, someone is usually in charge of this. In smaller companies, it can be a collective function of leaders at all levels.
  • Good organizational communication means that the members are well informed on all significant issues which affect them, including business challenges, policy changes, and operational and strategic issues.
  • Other issues which are included in organizational communications include organizational structure, customer service, workplace improvements, and the use of information technology.
  • Leaders should always be searching for ways to improve communications outside of their immediate realms. You are also responsible for correcting any misinformation about your subordinates or department.
  • It's also necessary for a leader to actively communicate with other departments to discover information that you need but has not been given to you.
  • Another way of improving communications among different groups is to suggest a shared function such as a potluck lunch or weekend social activity.
Using informal communication networks
Another means used to communicate is to use informal networks. This is not much different than what is commonly called the grapevine. Leaders can use this type of communication in the following ways:
  • An informal network, or grapevine, can complement or detract from other group communications.
  • Accept the fact that grapevines can't be eliminated and are very difficult to control. They are, however, easy to use.
  • Talking informally or casually with your subordinates and others can provide you with a vast amount of information about your organization.
  • As a leader, it's your responsibility to correct and dispel any incorrect information that you discover in the grapevine.
You can use a variety of methods to improve communications among your group and between your group and the rest of the organization. How can these techniques improve your own group communications?

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