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Fostering Open Communication On Teams

Eliciting group feedback is a highly effective approach to opening communication and building trust on teams. It’s a 3-part process that involves:

  1. Eliciting feedback (facilitating a group feedback brainstorm)

  2. Creating a plan of action

  3. Building collective problem solving capacity

As you increase open communication on your teams, your list of “improvables” will grow. Along your journey it’s important to ask: are we seeking improvement because “perfectionism” says nothing is enough? Or, are we avoiding change and being complicit in upholding outdated norms because of fear, safety, or security? For that matter, whose?

Implications for teams:

  • Accountability: As a team it’s imperative you develop clear tracking and accountability systems so that all feedback is thoughtfully considered and made actionable—even if actionable means planning to seek solutions at a specified later date. Demonstrating progress through actionable initiatives builds trust over time and shows people their contributions matter. Espousing inclusive or caring values, yet not taking meaningful action to address feedback, decreases trust and team effectiveness over time.

  • Power: Simply defined, power is the ability to make choices and influence.No matter where you are within your organization you have power to influence your teams by modeling how to receive feedback non-defensively.

In workplace contexts those in higher positions of status or authority naturally set the standards of acceptability. That said, sharing feedback is riskier (and less safe) the lower one's status or position of authority. Meanwhile, the higher one’s status or position of authority is, the more strategic, intentional and persistent they must be to elicit more meaningful (oftentimes “riskier”) constructive feedback

One of your goals as a team is foster a team environment where people can express themselves freely in service of increased Belonging and greater organizational impact.

Ready to put brainstorming into practice? Go to Part 1, "Eliciting Feedback," of the 3-part process to open communication and grow your teams.

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