Berger Leadership Blog

Aug 24, 2018
Categories: Teamwork Communication

Are you fulfilling your teams' No. 1 need?

NAFCU's communications team.

Most of our organizations are made up of teams. And we need these teams to perform as just that – a team. However, conflicting personalities, unclear communication and just plain daily life can get in the way of a collaborative team.

Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, recently covered Google's research into what makes a team effective. Among the findings: "[W]hat really mattered had less to do with the people on the team, and more to do with how team members worked together," Schwantes summarized.

He said the No. 1 need for teams that was discovered out of this research was psychological safety. In the words of the researchers this means that "members are not seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive, and that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea."

Schwantes highlights key strategies – both verbal and nonverbal – to create a psychologically safe environment. The 10 ways he lists to do this through verbal communication include:

  1. Respond verbally to show engagement.
  2. Recap what has been said to confirm everyone is on the same page. If there are disagreements, discuss them.
  3. Validate comments verbally.
  4. Avoid placing blame; focus on solutions.
  5. Express gratitude for contributions from the team.
  6. Step in if team members talk negatively about another team member.
  7. Share information about your personal work style and preferences, and encourage your teammates to do the same.
  8. Ask questions so you can learn from your teammates.
  9. Offer input, be interactive and show you're listening.
  10. Build rapport.

Schwantes also lists ways to show psychological safety through nonverbal communication. You can read these recommendations here.

Remember, an organization is only as strong as its people. Our teams need to be cohesive and efficient. It is up to us to foster a safe environment in which they can reach their full potential.

Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).


About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry.

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