Thank you for joining Episode 9 of your Reboot Program. This is Michelle Perez Patel from SatisFIND. We designed short learning episodes to help frontliners prepare for the day we open our doors to customers again. In this episode, Gabe Baradi will help us understand why teamwork and effective communication are the two important things we need for business recovery.
In our previous Reboot episodes, we talked about how you can improve yourself to prepare for your return to work after the quarantine. For today’s episode, we will look at how you and your team can develop better teamwork with effective communication.
Working hard and smart will definitely bring good results, but studies show that for a lot of tasks, having 2 or more people working together can give great results.
Teamwork allows us to perform tasks that you could not accomplish alone. The service industry is a people industry, where teamwork is an essential part of success. But teamwork is only possible when there is effective communication within your team.
These challenging times will continue to rapidly change our reality and business conditions. Effective communication allows your team to keep up with developments in your company and industry. When a team communicates well, the team saves time because there is no misunderstanding, conflict and confusion. Teams that practice good communication are more efficient and get the work done with less delays and distractions. When there is proper communication, the proper actions and solutions can be done.
Here are 5 ways to use effective communication to develop teamwork:
- Listen Actively. You have heard me talk about this in the previous episodes. When we minimize distractions, we are able to focus on the words said by the other person and the meaning behind them. Listen to the tone of voice and observe their body language, these are all part of communicating. Do your best not to interrupt the other person, and wait for them to pause. You can summarize and repeat back to them what you understood. This helps to check your understanding and allows the other person to clarify further. When you and your team members communicate with each other, it is best to start and end your conversation by listening.
Listening also gives you the chance to receive feedback from people. Remember that your growth mindset can be developed by using information you get from honest feedback.
Listening actively is what we need to practice when dealing with customers. If we listen to what they say, this is the start of delivering great service. Confirm with them what you understood about their needs. Knowing the correct concern or need allows you to come up with the best solution or product for your customer.
- Ask Questions. Asking is as important as listening. Asking questions allows you to discover what your colleague’s or customer’s needs and concerns are. When you do not understand something, it is best to ask questions, than pretend that you understand. This saves time and effort of doing the wrong thing and then having to ask the person to explain again after a mistake is made. Some mistakes can be too costly for a business, that is why it’s best to get things right the first time.
Different kinds of questions give you different kinds of information. Ask open-ended questions to gather a wide range of answers. An example of an open-ended question for colleagues is, “How would you explain the benefits of this product?” You could ask your customers, “How would you be using this product?” Based on what the customer says, you can reply by stating the features and their benefits in relation to how the customer would be able to use it. Closed ended questions give you very specific answers. Like asking your colleague, “Did our manager want the new stocks brought out?” Or asking your customer, “What size are you looking for?”. Closed-ended questions eventually close the conversation. They make your interactions more transactional and does not make the customer feel understood.
- Be positive. At work, you are expected to act professionally. This means that you are mindful of doing and saying the right things for both your colleagues and customers. Your growth mindset allows you to find what is good in your environment and this helps you stay positive even in stressful situations. While this pandemic is adding changes and challenges to our lives, being negative does not solve anything. But by being positive in the way we communicate, we project to people that we are competent and good mannered. People respond better to someone who is positive, because this person makes them feel good about their interaction.
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To stay positive, avoid gossiping. If you have complaints, it’s best to share them with someone who can take action, instead of sharing them with your peers to seek support. This will result to assigning blame and then it spreads like gossip. It will not solve the situation and may only create more distrust. Post-lockdown, we must be solutions-oriented. We do not work for the sake of working but to solve problems for our customers. If you are having a bad day at work, do not complain to your customers as this gives them a bad impression of you and your employer. Any issues or challenges you face at work must be discussed with your employer. When you do this, you are respecting the relationship you have with them and you remain professional as you seek a solution together.
- Stick to verified facts and information. There is a lot of false information around us. Making decisions based on the wrong data leads to executing the wrong solution. You achieve better results when your solutions are based on correct information. In a post-lockdown world, it may feel like we’re starting over again. What we know to be true is the value that we bring to customers. Why do they like our brand? Which among our products will they buy again? Who are our customers? Your company has data about all these, you just have to make use of it.
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- Give everyone a chance to share. Most people are reluctant to share what they are thinking for fear of saying the wrong things. Some people may be shy, or not confident in the way they speak. These thoughts prevent people from contributing what may have been a good idea or solution. When your team discusses an issue, make sure that everyone gets an opportunity to speak. If only one person is always monopolizing the conversation, only that person’s ideas will be expressed. Allowing everyone their turn to speak gives people a sense of safety, that they have a voice within the team. This leads to better morale in the team and a good foundation for relationships.
From Episodes 3 to 8, we talked about six essential values in service that will not only help us at work but also help us grow in our personal lives. Humility, Empathy, Openness, Trust, Fairness and Excellence are all big words, but understanding the behaviors in the simple things we do daily will lead us to practice these values consistently. Let’s take the first few steps together, and soon you will see its positive effects in your life, as you develop the growth mindset.
See you in our next episode.
We would like to end this episode with a few questions to help you practice what Gabe shared with us:
- Before the quarantine, did you find it challenging to converse with customers? We will cover this in detail in our future episodes but it will help you now to have the self-awareness that this is an opportunity area we would like to work on.
- When we go back to work, what do you look forward to the most? Capture that feeling, imagine it clearly in your head. This will help us stay positive in the coming days.
- In your team, are you the more outspoken one who shares ideas with the group or the quiet person who feels shy to speak up? Each team would have a diverse set of people and our differences may be the reason why we will be able to succeed together. If you are used to sharing your ideas, now is the time to let other members of the team share too. They may not share on their own, so you would be the best person to encourage them. If you are feeling shy to share your ideas, now is the time to set aside our worries that our ideas may not be good enough. Everyone is new to this experience, and there are no wrong ideas when we are discussing as a team. Everyone’s voice should be heard if we want real teamwork to happen.
Having teamwork and communicating effectively are easier said than done, and that’s because every person has different motivations, goals and feelings about their work. When we open our doors to customers again, the entire team will be on the same page. All of us will feel vulnerable, yet hopeful, and mindful that we need to help the business recover so no one gets left behind. This shared experience we’re having now can be a powerful force that can make our teams united together. We all want the same thing, We all wish for survival and for better days ahead.
If you have questions about today’s episode, we would love to hear from you. Please click the link for the Reboot Journal and share your thoughts or questions with us. We will answer them in the future episodes. Thank you for joining.