WORK ALIGNS THROUGH TEAMWORK: COMMUNICATION TOOLS FOR THE ENTIRE TEAM

In developing tools and resources that will enable your staff to communicate more effectively and to foster positive interpersonal relationships, I encourage the implementation of something that I call the Work Aligns Intelligently Through Teamwork or WAITT model, which also refers to five specific qualities and attributes: Willingness, Alliances, Inclusivity, Trust, and Transformation.

Willingness places the onus of responsibility on you, as a leader who embraces, connects and leverages diversity and inclusion learning opportunities to work through misunderstandings and communication difficulties, and to use your self-awareness as a springboard for cultivating Effective Leadership.

You must exercise the willingness to be transparent, and to assume the best about other people’s intentions. Willingness places you in a position of openness, which helps to facilitate better relationships overall.

Alliances allow you to view the people you are relating to as allies with whom you can collaborate, share, and transform. The ability to view your relationships as alliances helps cultivate greater care and sensitivity toward other people, as you can see that such an attitude is mutually beneficial. Shared experiences and the ability to extend a proverbial hand across the aisle can help you develop respect for people from whom you customarily feel completely alienated.

Inclusivity enables you to promote an environment in which differences are respected and valued. Behind inclusivity is an awareness of unity: This means that everyone is on the same team no matter what position we hold, and we are all able to acknowledge that we each play important roles.

Trust is cultivated through all of the aforementioned qualities, but it also requires compassion and empathy. We are all compassionate at heart but sometimes we forget to be compassionate, especially if someone makes us angry or disrespects us. Compassion and the willingness to see the best in the other person, even if you are triggered emotionally by him or her, can lead to more respectful and productive outcomes in negative situations. Mutual trust can be built when you are willing to relate to others, no matter how different they are, by putting yourself in their place and finding something in common.

Transformation refers to your capacity to use the aforementioned practices to continually create an environment where you challenge yourself and others to interrogate the ways we communicate—and to always operate under the belief that you can use your communication in the service of greater and greater professional achievements.

If agreements between team members have been made in a more informal fashion, circling back to the conversation with a written summary of the agreements you have made can be useful in ensuring that the conversation continues to build momentum and garner concrete outcomes. Whatever you do, it is important to make the conversation meaningful for all parties involved.

Communication plays a key role in both our personal and professional lives. It is fundamental to organizational efficiency, positive and productive relationships with team members, team efficacy, and the facilitation of innovative ideas. Additionally, when we are able to communicate our mission and objective in a clear and effective way, we can greatly foster a sense of working together to achieve a common goal. A lack of good communication skills is detrimental to any organization.



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