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Chapter 4. Communication: The Lifeblood ... > The Team That Talks Together Walks T... - Pg. 38

Communication: The Lifeblood of Team Success 38 associates. They participate in group discussions. There are no physical barriers or officious sec- retaries to keep team members from speaking to them. There is a continuous flow of associates around the room. If privacy is needed for conferring with clients or for training sessions or special meetings, several conference rooms are available. This allows easy access of all team members to all other team members. It encourages chatting and idea sharing. It breaks the barriers between team members and team leaders. Get Everybody Into the Act Charlie J. complained to his buddy Sal, "I can't figure it out. When I ask my team members to come up with new ideas, I rarely get one that's any good. In fact, most of the guys never even make a suggestion. And you tell me your team members are constantly bringing up stuff. How do you do it?" Team Builder To create an interactive communicative climate, continually ask team members, "What would you do if you were in my position?" Listen to their responses and encourage them to keep thinking about the problems and bringing you additional suggestions. Sal replied, "Charlie, I've watched you over the years. You barely listen to team members; you squash their ideas without giving them a chance to discuss them; and when a good idea is given, you pooh-pooh it and say you'd already thought of that. You gotta recognize that even though you are the leader, this is a team of bright men and women who want to help, if you'll only give them a chance." Charlie is typical of many old-school supervisors. They feel that their position requires them to be the idea-generator, and that the others should just accept what the supervisor says and do the work. This is not the case with teams. Charlie should emulate Sal. Here are 10 valuable tips on how to develop an open and participative climate for your team: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Share all pertinent information with your team. Encourage all team members to share information with each other. At meetings, elicit ideas and information from all attendees. Keep an "open door." Team members should feel free to bring you problems and suggestions. Expect team members to bring you bad news as soon as possible, and don't "shoot the mes- senger." Let team members know in a timely way about information that affects them. Encourage team members to express disagreement or differing viewpoints. Don't express disapproval of their comments either verbally or nonverbally. When appropriate, rebut in a nonconfrontational manner. Answer questions and comments as soon as possible and as fully as possible. Reinforce your commitment to open communications by expressing appreciation for their par- ticipation, their suggestions, and their critiques.