Cool nature fact: When you see more than one Aspen tree, they aren’t individual trees in a group; rather, they are connected by their roots underground. The stand (Aspens connected through their roots) is considered the largest single organism, by area, on Earth. Through their root system they share resources such as nutrients and water, supporting the growth of the entire group.
If only humans were as naturally connected.
One of the greatest barriers to natural connection and collaboration can be communication. How many meetings have we sat through where nothing appears to be accomplished? We talk past one another, interpret what’s said through our own personal filters of beliefs and experiences, and don’t align on the same goals.
The good news is that this can be overcome with attention to how we communicate when we collaborate. With collaboration we seek, as a group, to produce better results than we might as individuals. The group dialogue is designed to share ideas, knowledge, expertise, and perspectives … which lead to viable solutions and growth.
Best communication practices when collaborating include:
- Ensuring everyone understands the goals, tasks, and expectations.
- Active listening to understand others’ perspectives and concerns – stretching the curiosity muscle.
- Transparency about progress, challenges, and decision-making.
- Keeping everyone up to date with information, deadlines, etc.
- Designing team alliances on how to deal with feedback and conflict through constructive communication.
- Being aware of differences in communication styles and adapting, as needed, to foster effective communication.
Effective communication is the backbone of successful collaboration. It pays to invest in practices which enable your team to work together efficiently and achieve shared goals.
This week: Notice if you do more talking than listening in team meetings. Are you fostering a collaborative environment when needed? If not, ask the team what is needed to create that environment.
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