Let's take Tom Schaber's blog entry on Sales Management and Leadership to the next level. Effective communication isn't just for Sales Managers - it's key for anyone who is on a team - whether you are the leader of the team or just a team member.
Truth is, "Communication" is the underlying key of any relationship. And communication requires trust. Which in this context, is not referring to trusting someone will do what they are told. Instead, in this context, it refers "trusted" and open communication.
Trusted communication exists when each person respects all other members of a team and has their best interests in mind as well as the best interest of the team when communicating with each other. They will listen respectfully and be open to the words spoken - as well as being willing to speak their mind, knowing their words will be honored.
Think about the teams you are on - whether you are the leader of the team or just a member. Do you feel safe to say what's on your mind? Do others listen and respect your opinion? Do you make others feel safe to speak their mind?
Do you trust the others on the team enough to openly speak their mind? Are you trustworthy enough that others feel safe speaking their mind in front of you?
Think hard about the answers to those questions.
I would like to say that it is the leaders responsibility to make all of this happen - but in most situations, the leader / manager doesn't know enough to do it on their own. And if you wait until they figure it out, you might be out of luck. So, whether you are the leader, or just a team member, make the environment you work in a trusted environment.
So what can you do to build trust in the work place? It's simple - Be Impeccable With Your Word! (The first Agreement from don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements)
- Respect others opinions and stand up for them whether you agree with them or not - making sure they know you will make sure their voice is heard. Give them voice.
- Respect those that aren't present - as if they were. Don't gossip.
- Actively listen to those who do speak - doing your best to listen to their inputs so that you truly understand them.
It may take some time and, in all likelihood, it will be very tough to do. But no matter who you are, you can change how well the communication works between you and any other person or team. You simply have to make a choice to make it happen - and commit to it.