Effective communication in the workplace plays an essential role in the field of organizational development in general. Communication is necessary for all spheres of life, whether professional or personal, so to master it, managers need to practice this art, and it will come with knowledge and experience. The communication process itself is so important that many organizations even hire individual information support specialists. Communication of the members of the team is vital for productivity and makes the overall environment in the workplace better. This paper will cover the subject of communication in the team and will examine the Lencioni theory, groupthink and how to improve the relationships among employees.
Communication in the workplace
Communication in the group is vital to establish relationships among managers and performers, create efficient interaction between employees, and ensure a practical and straightforward exchange of data without information and time losses. Moreover, these interactions must work in all directions, that is, not only from the bottom up – from employees to superiors, but also from superiors to employees. This is essential both for building the company’s policy and for enhancing team spirit and gaining loyalty. Without strong relationships, every group member appears to move away from the others and does not fully understand how their activities are connected to the aims and objectives of the organization.
For most people, their work is the primary source of social interaction. Communication, which is carried out in the group, is the mechanism by which the group members express their attitudes to what is happening. Thus, communication contributes to the emotional expression of employees and allows them to realize social needs. The function of communication, which is associated with its role in the decision-making process, is also of significant importance. It allows the organization to provide the data that individuals and groups need to make decisions by transmitting information to identify and evaluate alternative solutions.
Moreover, insufficient communication within the team makes it difficult to make decisions and find answers to questions and can cause unnecessary misunderstandings that adversely affect the work. The absence of interactions reduces the level of creativity and productivity and is often the source of low morale (Eads, 2017). Therefore it leads to internal tension in the team, in which different directions begin to act not as allies but as opponents. In a working environment where openness, involvement, and the importance of shared values are emphasized, communication is more frequent and effective. However, high communication expectations in organizations lead to the fact that employees might complain that they do not understand what is happening. Although it is impossible to get rid of the problem completely, a well-thought-out communication strategy and efforts from both management and subordinates can help increase the effectiveness of interpersonal and work communication.
Feedback makes communication a dynamic two-way process. It can be considered messages to the sender that contain data on the effectiveness of the communication act. Positive feedback informs that the desired result of the message has been achieved. Negative feedback indicates to the source that the desired result of the message was not achieved. From the point of view of improving communication effectiveness, negative feedback is of more practical importance than positive feedback.
Close-knit communication and relationships between workers are excellent for any organization. Van Bavel et al. (2020, p. 67) mention that “groupthink occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in dysfunctional decision-making.” Such a loyal attitude may further hinder sound judgments and an objective assessment of the events and important decisions that occur during the work of the company.
There are several so-called symptoms of groupthink:
- The illusion of a person is that he is invulnerable and that his opinion will be supported outside the social group in which it was formed;
- Leveling the sense of personal responsibility for the decisions made by individual members of the group. In group thinking, there is a principle that responsibility lies on absolutely everyone, and therefore on no one because the concept of community is blurred;
- The unquestionable belief that the group is right and that its opinion is the only absolutely correct one. In this case, when faced with hundreds of other points of view, a person will deny them, because they do not coincide with the opinion of the majority;
- Primitive and stereotypical views on an opinion that differs from the opinion of the group. Here, people tend not to hear other points of view and ignore them because they question the opinion of the group, which means they are hostile, and it is necessary to fight them.
Such a phenomenon as groupthink has two sides. On the one hand, it is necessary in order to create unity within the group so that it is easier to control it. Today, this type of thinking is essential for making strategically good decisions in the management sphere, and here agreement with each other prevails over the rationality of the idea. On the other hand, groupthink has several disadvantages. It completely erases the objective opinion of a person and imposes on him the opinion of the majority. This is especially noticeable in a state of stress when a person strives to find support among the members of his group, and there he immediately joins the processes of group thinking.
In order to regulate the influence of group thinking, it is necessary to choose a leader who will have access to all the opinions of the group members and will also be able to take responsibility for making decisions that will be safe for all members of the community, but at the same time will meet the urgency of the problem and effectively solve it. From the very beginning, the group leader should assign to each member of the group the function of a critical, objective assessment of the situation and then encourage the expression of doubts or objections regarding a particular topic.
The Lencioni model
Lencioni noted that the team must overcome five problems in its development (Eicher, 2020):
Members of good teams trust each other on a fundamental emotional level. They can afford to be vulnerable, confessing to each other about mistakes, weaknesses, and fears. They reach a level where they can be completely frank with each other without looking back.
Fear of conflicts
Team members who have trust are not afraid of hot discussions of problems and making decisions necessary for the success of the organization.
Lack of dedication to the cause
When all opinions and ideas are discussed openly, team members are confident that all possible options will be considered.
Evasion of responsibility
Since there is an atmosphere of distrust in the team, no one says what they think, and decisions are made for formality. Moreover, the team members believe that they are not responsible for anything that does not affect them personally.
Inattention to the results
Team members who trust their colleagues, come into conflict, come to a decision and answer to each other are likely to prefer the interests of the team to their own needs and aspirations and will be able to concentrate almost entirely on them. They do not elevate their career, or status over common goals and will persistently achieve results on which the success of the team depends.
The Lencioni model is useful in terms of communication in the team because it helps to determine five main aspects that every team should go through, but incomplete, as it does not give full recommendations which are very important for new managers. To achieve the best results for both the individual and the team, people with certain skills should be present in the group. According to the Lencioni theory, the analyzed team was able to overcome the trust phase, had a minor conflict, achieved good commitment and accountability, and accomplished excellent results in their work. Well-structured communication engaged in listening, feedback and timely solution to critical moments are the characteristics of a successful team.
Analysis of group work
In general, the work and communication in the team were effective and successful. The team was able to create a great connection and work on important tasks and discuss the topics under study. However, the members were not able to reach to feelings and emotions stages of teamwork due to the virtual communication and time constraints difficulties. When communicating online, people lose the emotional component of communication, which prevents them from establishing ways to exchange information. Moreover, a great collaboration style and engagement were marked in the team during the performance of the exercise decision-making process.
The main weaknesses during teamwork were time management, objective planning and full involvement of the team. The latter can be attributed to the online type of work since in this case there are a large number of distractions. Improving time management in the team contributes to understanding real-time consumption and increases efficiency. Adams and Blair (2019, p. 1) note that “effective time management is associated with greater academic performance and lower levels of anxiety”. The need for planning encourages all team members to work out in detail the entire scheme of sequential actions for the implementation of planned positions and related installations. Thus, all members will receive such advantages as a clearer idea of the result, after which the goal is considered fulfilled, the composition and nature of the expected vulnerabilities, which previously had a vague idea, and a clearer idea of the degree of the feasibility of individually planned activities.
Tools for personnel information support
Communication in the team plays a vital role in every organization. It should be noted that when it comes to creating conditions for effective communication in a team, it is vital to have a clear vision of what the team ultimately hopes to achieve. Various tools can be used to achieve this goal. All tools for building communication within an organization can be divided into several types:
The task of such tools is to inform employees about what is happening in the company. The stand with announcements, circulars, and orders refers to information devices. An information tool can be a corporate magazine or newspaper, a portal with a systematized knowledge base, where any employee can get the necessary information without distracting his colleagues, all kinds of internal corporate mailings.
Just as it is important for employees to know about the management’s plans, so the management needs to keep abreast of the pulse and understand what the performers want. To do this, tools that provide feedback can be used, such as forms for making rational proposals and forums on the corporate website, employee survey systems, and staff monitoring.
People are social beings, and in addition to exchanging working information, they also need personal interaction; otherwise, they cannot build a strong team. Communication tools include not only corporate events and occasions dedicated to team building but also various professional competitions, corporate and adaptation training, and seminars.
For the company to be successful, every employee must understand where it is going and what its goals are. For this purpose, meetings, planning sessions, and speeches of the management are held, and the development and implementation of corporate standards serve the same purpose.
All these tools can be used separately, but some of them can be combined and effectively implemented within the organization. One of the more reasonable ways of solving communication problems in the company is using a corporate social network that allows sharing of news and keeps employees up to date with what is happening. The presence of group and personal chats is a way to build effective communications between employees without loss of information and time, to unite in groups of professional interests, organize meetings and brainstorming sessions, even if employees are scattered around the world, to receive real-time consultations and, finally, to communicate in an informal setting and make social connections with other employees. The corporate social network is associatively connected with the space intended for dialogue, which means that the company’s internal communications will be solved as efficiently as possible, without the risk of getting a reputational blow from open sources.
Communication flows are the foundation on which all management activities are based. Thanks to them, the organization as a system has a holistic character, due to the fact that with the help of information exchange it becomes possible to link all the components of the organization together, as well as help in solving urgent tasks. Effective internal communications allow the management to hear the employees in time and make the right decision. I believe that I adhere to a more liberal style of working in a team. With this type of work, I, as a leader, can give the team freedom of action in the work, and also, if necessary, provides support and advice. However, in this case, it is important to avoid group thinking, which can adversely affect the work of the entire team.
The first step for the effectiveness of the team’s work is to take several steps. First, it is necessary to clearly establish the quantitative composition of the team. This criterion implies an increase in the effectiveness of teamwork in the organization with the help of active number management. It is also necessary to establish management of the functional responsibilities of team members. The effectiveness of teamwork is mainly determined by the level of competence, certain skills and personal qualities that all team members should possess. Team leaders should assess the levels of competence and professionalism of the employee as often as possible, as well as take measures to improve them in a timely manner.
Adams, R. V., & Blair, E. (2019). Impact of time management behaviors on undergraduate engineering students’ performance. SAGE Open, 9(1).
Eads, D. (2017). Changing the climate: Staff development activities that address the real issues, and communication in the workplace. North Carolina Libraries, 75(1).
Eicher, L. C. (2020). The five dysfunctions of a team: A leadership fable. College and University, 95(1), pp. 77-78.
Van Bavel, J. J., Reinero, D. A., Harris, E., Robertson, C. E., and Pärnamets, P. (2020). Breaking groupthink: Why scientific identity and norms mitigate ideological epistemology. Psychological Inquiry, 31(1), pp. 66-72.