Bridging the Divide: How to Improve Communication in a Leadership Team

A leadership team’s pathway to success must be built on a bedrock of open and candid dialogue that occurs within the leadership team and across the organization. The responsibility for creating an organization that fosters trust and respectful communication falls to the leadership team. This team is accountable for establishing and exemplifying the core principles and expectations of effective communication and problem-solving.

The Secrets to Success in Any Business

To achieve the purpose and goals of the enterprise, leadership teams need talented people as well as technology, capital, infrastructure, and other hard assets. When positive and constructive communication is actively supported and skillfully practiced by members of the leadership team, assets like people, technology, and infrastructure can be aligned and positioned to achieve optimal business success. Solving the big and small problems that arise as an organization works towards its goals also hinges on the leadership team being able to engage in effective communication.

10 Essential Practices to Internalize

To build a culture where open, constructive dialogue is the norm, 10 critical ingredients and conditions need to be established and practiced by all members of the organization—including its leaders—every day:

1) Willingness to courageously and assertively speak up and share ideas, needs, and opinions without an aggressive tone or a desire to dominate or control others.

2) A high level of patience and the ability to truly listen and understand others without interrupting them.Man communicating to a group of people

3) Courage to discuss important, difficult or critical issues, knowing that no single person ever has a complete grasp of all the facts and information about a topic.

4) The ability to speak and interact in a way that is respectful of others’ ideas and their communication styles and preferences. This will allow information and ideas to be exchanged without defensivenss.

5) Flexibility in working through differences and allowing constructive conflict to drive creative and innovative solutions.

6) An environment where engaging in collaborative brainstorming and seeking ownership for agreements, decisions, and plans is expected and encouraged.

7) A high degree of self-awareness and the willingness to acknowledge the strengths and talents you bring to the conversation, as well as having the humility and maturity to own your personal limitations and blind spots.

8) The willingness to seek out, accept, and fully consider constructive feedback from others.

9) The ability to share feedback that is designed to be fair and helpful without punishing or judging others.

 10) The willingness to support the implementation of the team’s consensus position, even if it doesn’t align with your personal preferences. This means there is no devious triangulation or complaining to others after team decisions are made.

Conclusion

Over many years of practicing and working with a wide range of teams and individuals, we have found that teams who honor and practice these principles can achieve unparalleled results that reflect the collective wisdom of the group.

female leader providing feedback

While the principles of effective communication feel like common sense and are intellectually easy to understand, they can be difficult to apply consistently—especially when the stakes are high and emotions are strong. With practice, some mindfulness, and a bit of patience, great teams can achieve the outcomes they desire and their members can enjoy the process of getting there.

 

Co Writer – Camille Guth:

Camille is a highly skilled CMOE facilitator and coach with over 25 years of experience in the fields of Human Resources and Organization Development. Her passion is helping individuals and teams across the organization be more effective and aligned in executing long-term plans to achieve greater performance and results.

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About the Author

Steven Stowell, Ph.D.

Dr. Steven J. Stowell is the Founder and President of the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness, Inc. CMOE was created in 1978 for the purpose of helping individuals and teams maximize their effectiveness and create strategic competitiveness. Steve’s special interests lie in helping leaders and organizations transform into high-performance cultures that are focused on long-term, sustained growth.Steve began his career working in the energy industry. During the past 30 years, Steve has consulted with both small and large corporations, government agencies, school systems, and non-profit organizations in 35 different countries.Steve enjoys the challenges of • Helping functional organizations define, create, and execute strategy in order to differentiate the business. • Developing and designing creative and innovative learning experiences, simulations, and keynote presentations. • Helping functions across the organization be more effective and aligned in executing long-term plans.The centerpiece of Steve’s consulting, learning, and executive coaching work is his advocacy of applied research and data collection. Steve is a highly effective presenter and facilitator and enjoys creating customized solutions, assisting senior teams, defining strategic direction from the individual level to the corporate and business-unit level, and improving teams that are faced with important challenges and issues.