In previous entries, we’ve discussed the importance of strong leadership communication in any organization. Of course, communication shouldn’t merely flow in one direction. Employees must also hone their abilities to properly communicate with managers and peers alike. Indeed, when team members learn to better communicate with one another, the entire company stands to benefit. Let’s explore why peer-to-peer communication boosts morale in the workplace.
Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Communication
1) Creates a Culture of Authenticity and Transparency
In hierarchical settings, people can feel left out of certain conversations as others might wish to withhold certain information from others. While there are legitimate reasons for gatekeeping sensitive details at different levels, a positive and productive company culture relies on authenticity. If an employee is keeping something to themselves for self-serving or unfounded reasons (i.e., fear, leverage, etc.), an unnecessary roadblock is formed. Over time, employees can silo themselves, cliques can form, and the culture can become one of secrecy and defensiveness. Conversely, encouraging peer-to-peer communication breaks down these walls and builds trust among employees. When all employees are on the same page, there’s less room for petty grievances, allowing for greater productivity and morale.
2) Encourages Mutual Recognition
The healthiest organizational cultures are those that actively recognize team members for outstanding work. However, building a positive team culture relies on more than receiving this positive feedback from supervisors alone — employees also benefit from being recognized by their peers. Strong teams are built upon mutual recognition. One employee’s success should be seen as a win for the whole team, not a slight against other employees. When peers give and receive appreciation to one another, the sense that, “we’re better together,” is solidified.
3) Empowers Employees
When employees feel like they’re on their own, they may feel less inclined to speak out, ask questions, make suggestions, and take action. Leaders are partially responsible for helping their team members feel empowered on the whole, but one’s peers also contribute to this empowerment. After all, receiving encouragement from a peer is one of the best endorsements one can receive since this advice comes from more of a level playing field. When all employees provide this encouragement for one another, the entire team becomes bolder, strengthening the organization overall.
4) Promotes Productivity
Peer-to-peer communication also helps streamline various processes. In many cases, a simple check-in or question answered is all that’s needed to solve a problem. While leaders may sometimes get involved in resolving or clarifying these issues, peers can often take care of it themselves. The easier it is for peers to communicate with one another, the more productive teams become, freeing up time and resources for everyone and boosting morale in the process.
5) Cultivates Leaders in Your Organization
Finally, a strong peer-to-peer communication network helps budding leaders reach their full potential. Of all the ways to develop leadership communication skills, maintaining a strong connection with fellow employees is one of the most powerful. While there are some differences regarding communication between peers and communication between leaders and those in their purview, the core tenets of strong communication remain the same, such as clarity, consistency, timing, attention, use of language, and more. Leaders who have mastered how to manage communication in teams most likely began developing these skills via peer-to-peer communication.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.
At the core of every successful enterprise is a strong sense of teamwork. Tight-knit teams help boost a business’ productivity and spark innovation at rates no individual could possibly achieve. However, it takes a lot of work to cultivate this durable cooperation.
Bonds are often formed naturally over time as people work with one another and share experiences, but these factors only account for part of the picture. Leaders must also take an active role in establishing solid teams. To do so, they might organize and initiate team building events. These exercises can strengthen teams and yield several additional benefits, but they don’t simply work by default. If your team building events aren’t producing the results you expected, here are some possible causes.
Common Mistakes in Team-Building Events
A Lack of Leadership
Team building events are all about collaboration, so no one person’s participation should outweigh that of another. That said, without a leader or group of leaders guiding the activity, you might find it difficult to get these events off the ground at all. Team leaders play an important role in both coordinating team building exercises and keeping them on track. A good leader will clearly outline the task at hand and offer a demonstration as a jumping-off point. They will then back off when it’s time for team members to interact with one another and jump back in if things hit a snag or go too far off course.
Generally speaking, people are more likely to partake in an activity if they feel empowered to do so. Team building events are only effective when members participate willingly and with enthusiasm. When engagement is forced, participants may close up and feel insecure or irritated, which negatively tinges the exercise. Of course, team management leaders may struggle to cultivate this enthusiasm. While not every team member will always be on board, there are ways to reduce this friction and encourage greater participation. Leaders might organically weave team building events into the workday so employees don’t feel forced to act a certain way or abandon their duties. Additionally, all team members should feel that their input adds value to the organization so they’re more willing to speak out and engage.
The Message is Unclear
Team building events won’t amount to anything if those involved don’t know what’s at stake. For every exercise, there needs to be a clear “why” to the “what.” When formulating ideas of team activities, leaders must ask themselves questions like: Why should team members care? What goal (or goals) is the team and organization working toward? How will this particular exercise bring the team together and move everyone closer to the goal? How can the company’s team culture be improved as a whole, and how will that positively affect the organization? Having answers to these questions will help leaders create these events as well as give team members a reason to truly care about them.
Timing is All Off
Whether they’re during the workday or after hours, team building events can interfere with regular productivity and team members’ personal lives. If you’re not mindful of everyone’s time, your events might foster resentment and induce undue stress. Conversely, coordinating team building events to fit everyone’s unique schedules and needs goes a long way toward building a positive team culture. Take the time to properly schedule these activities so the maximum amount of people can participate with minimal conflict.
Accepting and delivering constructive criticism are major parts of both team building and leadership training. Without this communication, you can’t fully know if your team building events are going well. Actively welcome feedback before, during, and after these exercises, so you can adjust and improve them accordingly. Otherwise, these activities will just waste everyone’s time and make for a more toxic work environment.
A team building exercise should never be by the numbers. These events must be relevant to the current work at hand and re-establish a shared purpose. This requires leadership, engagement, tact, and communication. With more effort in these areas, your team building events won’t just work, they’ll seriously pay off.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.Read More