Communication and Team Dynamics

In order to run an effective and efficient team, proper communication is necessary. While getting certified for Basic Life Support at the Heart Foundation of Jamaica I got to see in black and white just how important it is.

While the practice of medicine thrives off of effective written and spoken communication amongst team members, many other careers share similar need for same.

In this article I share some ways team members can communicate more effectively verbally and will have a more in-depth article for medical professionals on my LinkedIn at some point.

 

Be Respectful

Communicating with team members, regardless of your role necessitates respectful language. While each person has their own personality and members of your team may be your friends, it is important at all times to maintain language that is not offensive or sometimes even too casual. Voices carry a lot of emotion, so when you’re angry or frustrated it is important to be careful with not only what you say, but how you say it.

Be Clear

If you’re giving instructions to a team member, those instructions should be clear, concise and have appropriate and sufficient information. Be clear and complete with what you want done or what ever information you’re sharing. This prevents confusion and excessive questioning needed.

Acknowledge

When someone in your team has given you instructions, information or has asked something of you, you should acknowledge that you have heard and respond appropriately. The closed loop system used in both BLS and ACLS is one of my favourite communication methods to use, especially in medicine.

Basically, in this method, when an instruction is given out, you acknowledge that you’ve heard it and repeat what the instruction is. That way the team leader knows you’ve heard and knows you’ve  understood what is being asked of you.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions in an effort to clarify what it is that someone wants or needs of you. Your questions should also be clear and compound free. Ask questions one at a time so that persons are able to answer in the best way possible.

Allow Questions

If you’re in a leadership role or doing bilateral communication, don’t get annoyed or dismissive of questions. Getting questions about information or instructions given could show that you have not communicated adequately or effectively. Allow the person to seek clarity by answering.

Be Honest

Know your strengths and honest about your weaknesses. If you are asked to do something you’re not comfortable or confident in, speak up. Ask for help or that someone more experienced than you do the task. This all depends on the situation at hand and you should use your judgement on whether you need to hand the reigns to someone else completely or ask to be taught/ guided.

Listen

Communication is more than just speaking but it has a lot to do with receiving. What are the other persons saying verbally and non verbally? Communication is not a one way street nor is it one sided. Listening includes giving the person your complete attention and circles back to acknowledging what was said.

Debrief

In order for teams to improve their dynamics, candid conversations on the strengths and weaknesses of the team needs to be had. Team members should feel comfortable to give constructive criticism without fear of being reprimanded. This ensures that there is continuous growth and improvement as a team.

Learn

Teams are dynamic, that is why persons must be open to adapting and learning. With each day team dynamics should improve as you learn from lessons from the day before!

 

No matter what you do, you will more than likely be apart of a team. Whether it is your family, coworkers or classmates, good team dynamics are a critical part of good team work. I saw a quote recently on someone’s Instagram picture caption saying:

“If you take out the team in teamwork, it’s just work. Now who wants that?” Matthew Woodring Stover

I really liked that! Building proper team dynamics is crucial for building rapport and working more effectively and efficiently!

What are some of the ways you improve communication in your team? Share with me!

Samantha C. Johnson

PS: Go get certified in basic life support and possibly save a life! There are courses for medical and non medical persons.

Featured image found on google. Link here.

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