Team communication presents one of the most significant elements of the successful operation of any team. There are various approaches, theories, and concepts that strive to explain the process of team communication, enhance it, and integrate its members. This paper considers intercultural communication, Monroe’s motivation sequence, and teamwork theory that are associated with culture, motivation, and team development, respectively.
Even though the evidence illustrates some factors of the ineffective team interaction, such as the lack of understanding, resistance to change, etc., there is a range of activities that may address these challenges. Among them, one may note the promotion of respect and honesty, the creation of open dialogue and acceptance of others, and the establishment of team members’ integrity. The use of modern technology to facilitate team communication is also regarded to be a beneficial decision.
Effective communication in team performance serves as a foundation for the successful accomplishment of tasks set by a team leader, a company, etc. Team members may collaborate solely through communication, sending, and receiving oral and written information. At this point, appropriate communication implies that a recipient of a message properly comprehends its content and purpose that allows providing valuable feedback. A range of theories and concepts reveals the essence of team communication, while this paper will focus on intercultural communication, Monroe’s motivation sequence, and teamwork theory.
In terms of the modern world driven by the processes of globalization, plenty of employees from various countries and of different nations work together. The theory of intercultural communication involves the consideration of methodological positions that determine, on the one hand, the existence of various cultures and practices of social harmony aimed at interethnic and intercultural tolerance.
On the other hand, it emphasizes the significance of the coexistence and interaction of various ethnicities and cultures, while preserving the identity of each of them. The paramount goal of intercultural communication is to provide the achievement of productive and mutually beneficial cooperation using communication (Penbek, Yurdakul Şahin, & Cerit, 2012). The implementation of the above principle becomes the most effective when all the team members participating in an intercultural conversation conducted in a benevolent environment and a positive psychological climate accept it.
More to the point, the professional intercultural communication is effective when recipients and transmitters realize the principle of striving to achieve a positive result as the mutual readiness for interaction minimizes the likelihood of misunderstanding along with failures in intercultural dialogue, the role of which cannot be exaggerated due to differences in the cultures (Penbek et al., 2012). It should be specified that the possession of speech strategies and tactics of communication of a partner, both verbal and non-verbal, is required not for imitation, but as a means to achieve the dominant goal of intercultural communication – the achievement of an adequate understanding of a partner in the intercultural conversation. Therefore, the theory of intercultural communication promotes cultural sensitivity, appropriate encoding skills, relationship building, and follow-up actions.
Monroe’s Motivation Sequence
Team communication often requires its members to present their ideas and respond to assumptions made by others. For some people, the need to provide convincing arguments and motivational speech sounds natural. The rest can try to avoid speeches and presentations, fearing that their report will not be well received due to the failure to structure thoughts, inappropriate speech skills, etc. Developed by Monroe in 1935, the motivation sequence theory offers a series of steps to create motivation in team members and empower them to make persuasive speeches (German, Gronbeck, Ehninger, & Monroe, 2016).
The utilization of the technique of Monroe helps to instill confidence and attract the attention of the team by convincing it of the need to make a decision, describing a detailed picture of success (or failures), and encourage the audience to act. This is the essence of the formula for success that has been proved by plenty of teams.
Among the elements of the motivation sequence, there is attention, need illustration, ramification, pointing, satisfaction, visualization, and action. The mentioned theory proposes simplicity and creativity.
For instance, one may tell a story, resort to humor, use shocking statistics, or ask a rhetorical question – everything that will make the audience listen carefully and ponder over. Such an approach will not replace the introduction, but it will become a significant part of it. German et al. (2016) consider that it is also critical to try to convince the team of the credibility of a speaker, clearly revealing goals and letting the team members know what to expect from him or her. The detailed explanation of how the situation will look if the audience will do nothing is likely to create the desire to accept one’s views and follow recommendations. Thus, the theory of motivation sequence aims at inspiring the team and stimulating it to adopt similar conduct, views, and beliefs.
By the very definition, the concept of team communication assumes that it is a continuous and ever-changing process, depending on members, environment, specific tasks, etc. In this regard, it becomes evident that teamwork requires constant development. The teamwork theory elaborated by Tuckman presents an effective framework to ensure the formation and consolidation of the team with the help of the method of making the maximum use of the professional context and motivating to achieve a specific goal. Since the theory highlights the central issues that the group meets at each phase of its development, the stages are denoted forming, storming, norming, and performing. Modern studies confirm that the observed groups do pass through each of the specified stages (Hall, Weaver, & Grassau, 2013). Let us consider the key points of this theory.
In particular, forming is the initial stage of the development of the group, during which people come to the sensation that the team appreciates and accepts them so that they can identify themselves with it. Storming refers to the stage of the group’s development, during which the group clarifies its goals and determines which place each member will occupy in the team structure of power. The stage of norming implies the development of group cohesion, and performing is the actual execution of the required tasks.
Symptoms of Ineffective Communication in a Team
Several factors may indicate the ineffectiveness of team communication. For instance, if the group members are not able to explain their functional tasks and what their team works on, it is an alarming symptom. If team members do not understand their motivation system, the distribution of roles and responsibilities, and the reasons for the change, then communication is considered inappropriate.
Woodcock (2017) pinpoints that the above markers signalize a low level of communication between a leader and the team as well as between the team members. As for the emotional symptoms, the team may openly show negative emotions towards a leader and each other, or positive emotions change significantly to negative ones during work. People can feel fear, irritation, apathy, or anger, which are easy enough to observe during team interaction. If the situation occurs at the workplace, employees may often ask for higher pay, blackmail with dismissal, and express resistance to change and innovation.
Team Communication Building Activities
To build effective communication within a team, it essential, first of all, to overcome the existing difficulties. The constructive work with differences implies respect, awareness, and acceptance of differences, including temporal, linguistic, cultural, and geographic ones (Dyer & Dyer, 2013). Building connections is another activity that can be implemented by encouraging the formation of mutual trust and respect between team members. It is of great importance here not only to trust and respect colleagues, but also to approach them as individuals with their characteristics, needs, and expectations.
It is also recommended to develop a clear mission, a unified vision, and a strong management system. It is essential to utilize the entire palette of skills and cultural characteristics of the team to achieve a common goal. According to Dyer and Dyer (2013), “the use of communication technologies to coordinate effectively will likely be a source of team success” (p. 275). This refers to modern cloud technology and virtual offices. The above activities work better in combination rather than implemented separately. The interaction within the team is especially important in multicultural workgroups. At this point, the goal of a leader is to dilute the activity focused on the solution of specific tasks, promotion of the activities that put the relationships between people in the core of communication, strengthening mutual trust, and inducing a sense of belonging to the future of the team.
Dyer, W. G., & Dyer, J. H. (2013). Team building: Proven strategies for improving team performance (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons. Web.
German, K. M., Gronbeck, B. E., Ehninger, D., & Monroe, A. H. (2016). Principles of public speaking (18th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. Web.
Hall, P., Weaver, L., & Grassau, P. A. (2013). Theories, relationships, and interprofessionalism: Learning to weave. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 27(1), 73-80. Web.
Penbek, Ş., Yurdakul Şahin, D., & Cerit, A. G. (2012). Intercultural communication competence: A study about the intercultural sensitivity of university students based on their education and international experiences. International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management, 11(2), 232-252. Web.
Woodcock, M. (2017). Team development manual (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. Web.