You know that little kiddy jingle: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? That's not true! In fact, words–or the absence of words–can hurt more deeply than a whack with a stick. There's nothing more frustrating than communication breakdown; but there's also nothing more enjoyable than working with an exemplary team member.
In that vein, I want to share with you a communication tool my husband shared with me. Hopefully, it'll help you identify the styles of communication on your team–and better understand how to move people to the higher levels of communication. (If nothing else, use direct communication to let people know where you see them in these categories and how that impacts the team and your goals! Then work on a plan for improvement together.)
Derailer–doesn't keep others informed; doesn't take constructive criticism well; doesn't actively listen or work to understand others' points; avoids difficult conversations with others; gossips; doesn't respond to requests via email, voice mail, notes, etc; uses offensive language.
Basic–courteously and respectfully shares information; observes confidentiality and privacy; actively listens to people by using appropriate eye contact, body language, and seeks clarification; participates in difficult discussion.
Proficient–speaks respectfully and positively about or with others; takes responsibility for being informed; communicates constructively; is open to others' opinions; expresses own views and opinions.
Advanced–speaks and writes in a clear manner; proactively shares appropriate information with others; listens well by clarifying and paraphrasing points of view; discusses multiple ideas, points of views, and outcomes; advocates for solutions that meet multiple parties' goals; accepts constructive criticism.
Exemplary–promotes ideas or outcomes that support the organization's goals; seeks others' opinions; speaks or writes in a manner which inspires and motivates others; seeks and accepts constructive criticism and changes behavior.
So where do your team members fall in these categories?