The importance of effective team collaboration to business success cannot be overstated.
In fact, Richard Branson, the only person ever to build eight billion-dollar companies in eight different industries, and a business expert by anyone’s standards, has this to say about collaboration:
“Many people think that an entrepreneur is someone who operates alone, overcoming challenges and bringing his idea to market through sheer force of personality. This is completely inaccurate. Few entrepreneurs – scratch that, almost no one – ever achieved anything worthwhile without help. To be successful in business, you need to connect and collaborate and delegate.”
What Richard Branson is talking about here is “conscious communication.” This is something that encompasses a range of effective communication skills — like connecting, collaborating and delegating — to enable teamwork amongst colleagues and empower leaders to get the very best out of their teams.
What is conscious communication?
So, think of every great speaker you’ve ever heard, or influencer with whom you’ve spoken. What was it about the way they communicated that was so compelling?
Maybe it was the way they listened to you, or the way they understood where you were coming from. Perhaps they remembered something about you that you deem important, or they somehow encouraged you to challenge yourself, grow and improve.
Maybe they made you feel totally at ease with open and welcoming body language. Or perhaps they just delivered the most entertaining, engaging, memorable presentation you’ve ever attended.
These are all hallmarks of conscious communicators — people like Branson. They get the best out of the people with whom they communicate. They inspire, they motivate, they collaborate. They achieve great things.
Now, imagine if everyone in your business could be like that.
4 benefits of conscious communication on team collaboration
As we know, effective communication is critical in the workplace to stand out, influence decisions and engage others. We’ve written about it fairly extensively on the blog.
But it’s also extremely important when it comes to good team collaboration. In a group scenario, when employees have an understanding of why a conscious approach to communication is so important, as well as having the tools and skills to use it, they are able to collaborate better together.
In a nutshell, a team of conscious communicators is a better, happier, more productive, motivated and capable team. These are just 4 of the ways conscious communication can improve your team collaboration.
1. Celebrates individuality to make everyone feel a valued member of the team
Frequently in today’s corporate landscape, teams are comprised of people that don’t know each other well, aren’t in the same department, and haven’t worked together before. Conscious communication takes this into consideration and treats team members as individuals, celebrating their unique skills and experience.
We all have different qualities and experiences to offer. It’s part of our story. And it’s important to recognise these individualities within the team so that members feel valued and not simply cogs in a machine.
Storytelling and active listening allows us to understand each person’s story and their “why” — their driving force. When we share these stories, we are able to have more empathy for each other and understand their journey.
Storytelling leads to relatability, which facilitates a harmonious, productive team environment. When team members understand and relate to one another, they have a more seamless collaboration experience.
2. Facilitates an environment that embraces change and critical evaluation
Conscious communication does not shy away from difficult conversations. It’s a tool that empowers people to tackle them head on and turn them into productive experiences.
It’s important that all team members understand exactly how everyone’s work contributes to the fulfilment of the team or company goal. It allows them to work together towards that common goal and see that everything the team does is in pursuit of that goal, nothing else.
Nothing is ever personal. Though, inevitably, there will be disagreements within a team. Constructive conflict, which is a form of conscious communication, enables us to manage workplace disagreements and use them to get the best outcome for everyone, including the business.
Conscious communication aims to create a culture that embraces debate and critical evaluation, empowering workers to feel safe to share their ideas and accept feedback.
Again, this is something that Branson advocates. He says: “Over almost 50 years in business, I have learned that having a healthy debate about strategy and direction is vital if a business is to succeed, so I always encourage my colleagues to challenge me and speak up if they disagree with any of our group’s plans.”
3. Turns employees into influencers who are demonstrably confident and capable
Conscious communicators are influential. They can be placed into any team of people and perform capably alongside their team members because they’re able to:
- Reason: Use logic to explain the importance of their ideas or projects.
- Consult and collaborate: Ask for help or involve others to create an attachment to their idea.
- Inspire: Get people excited about their idea. This can be done by showing enthusiasm or even appealing to other people’s values and beliefs.
- Generate trust and credibility.
These abilities are of extremely high value in team collaboration scenarios.
4. Uses all forms of effective communication to support better team collaboration
Conscious communication isn’t just about the words we say. It covers a broad range of skills, tools and processes that make up effective communication — like body language, for example.
Technology is another one. Team communication isn’t limited to how we engage with each other in meetings. It also covers our email communication, Slack messages, how we rate the work and performance of others. Team collaboration tools are increasingly digital, so it’s important that employees understand how to influence, inspire and communicate effectively through modern media.
These are just a few of the benefits of conscious communication in a team collaboration setting. If you or any of your managers are interested in finding out more about team collaboration training, or you want to invest in communication skills training, consider enrolling them in our Mastering Communication program today.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their leadership skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.
Erica Bagshaw is an entrepreneur, Executive Coach and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. She has spent the majority of her career growing and developing close client partnerships. She loves sharing her expertise on the perfect pitch.