What Makes Team Communication Different From Group Communication?

How the principles of team communication work in your organization can have a great impact on your team’s ability to produce results.

There are some very key differences between a team and a workgroup. One of the simplest differences to spot is in how people communicate with each other. A truly successful team will communicate with each other in very different ways than a typical workgroup (even if that group is called a “team”). As we explore the four aspects that separate team communication from a typical workgroup, think about your team. Are you communicating as a team, or simply as a group of employees?

1. Teams share ideas

Ideas increase in value when they are shared, that is how ideas drive teamwork. When an individual “comes across” an idea, it’s not just about using that idea themselves. Someone who is committed as a team member will share that idea with anyone else on the team who would benefit from it.

2. Teams share news

All work groups share news, but that news can often be described as bad news. People whine about what is wrong, what’s wrong, how much work they’re getting, and how much more they’re working on than others. You cannot control the amount of bad news that your employees share. But, a good team (and a good team leader) will be able to feed in good news to the sharing as well. Good teams will talk as much (or more) about what’s working, why it’s working, who’s making it work, and solutions-based news as they will about bad news.

3. Teams share feedback

Feedback is performance-based. It tells us what we can do differently to improve in the future. In a typical workgroup, there is really only one person, or role, who is allowed to give feedback – the boss. In a successful, highly productive team feedback moves all around. Everyone is open to and comfortable with both giving and receiving feedback from everyone else on the team. In a team, feedback moves up and down and from side to side. A team is less concerned about the source of the feedback than its usefulness.

4. Teams share clarity

Peter Drucker once said, “We often starve our opportunities and feed our problems. We focus only on what’s wrong and we miss the opportunities around us.”

In my experience, good teams are always crystal clear on both the problems they face as well as the opportunities they can take advantage of. This clarity helps them see these problems and opportunities in the context of their mission and goals, which they are then able to use to guide them through solving problems and taking advantage of the opportunities.

Can you see these four aspects of team communication in your employee groups? If not, this provides a great outline of communication goals to aspire to. Work on influencing these communication habits in your team, along with making teamwork work, to start enjoying the benefits of leading a highly productive, motivated team.