If you want to understand a team’s culture, look no further than their communication with each other. It’s not just about the content that is being communicated, but how it is being delivered that plays a large role in creating the overall picture.
Communication covers everything from tone to the words used, along with the way it is framed that determine how healthy a team’s culture is.
A toxic work culture grows when there is a lack of communication. This doesn’t necessarily mean an absence of people talking to one another. It also means poor communication and instances when what is being said is not worded right or received the way it was meant to.
If you want to improve your company’s culture, focus on the what, how, and best practices of communication.
Research suggests that around 73 to 90% of face-to-face communication is nonverbal. Aspects such as voice, facial expressions, body language, gesturing, eye contact, etc., contribute to the non-verbal communication we have with our colleagues over and beyond the words we use.
This essentially means that messages relayed over text or emails lack a crucial element to them. Every exchange has two dimensions: content and relation. The ‘content’ is the data that needs to be transacted. The ‘relation’ is the tone and emotion with which it is presented.
As texting and emails have taken over as a medium to communicate, so have the frustrations of employees. They are often left wondering if the other person is rude or angry when they may just be brief. This misunderstanding occurs because those relational cues aren’t there to help people pick up on messages better.
Integrating video in communication
To cultivate a healthy collaborative workplace, a company needs to introduce ways to inject the relational cues back into the data-driven conversations. While emoticons and audio messaging have paved the way for more connected conversations, it is video that has truly been a game-changer.
Video calling enables you to see the other person explain a task to you. It helps you connect to them and understand them better. For example, a short message delivered with a warm tone tells the receiver that you are not being curt, only brief. A simple step helps you overcome a misunderstanding before it could form.
The longer the message, the wider the channel
Simple messages such as ‘lunch is here’ or ‘meeting time postponed by an hour’ are fine to be sent via text. These messages are not complex and the message behind them is clear enough to not need a video message.
Where business leaders miss the mark, however, is when they send heavy, complex, and important messages such as organizational developments and business direction changes via email. It’s very likely that the intention and importance of such a message are going to get lost in translation.
Thus, the deeper the message i.e., with more details, the wider the channel should be. Be it audio, video, or in-person communication.
Prioritize building healthy relationships
Communication in an organization should be focused on increasing employee engagement and employee empathy.
Employee engagement deals with the mental, emotional, and behavioral commitment that an employee has for the work they perform and the company they work for. Employee empathy here refers to the empathy employees have for their leader.
Video messages help you achieve both the engagement and empathy of your team. Whether you are happy, stressed, or angry, it becomes visible on your face and evident in your demeanor. Your team can pick up on it when they can see you.
Leverage this to convey your message. Let your team see what you mean, as well as the importance and urgency of the message. It helps the team bond better, understand each other more efficiently.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to choose the best method to communicate your message to your team. One method does not work for all messages. Pick a mix of various mediums to see what works best for you.
Encourage your team to step forward and speak their mind. This applies to both lateral communications as well as communication between teams and their leaders. A well-bonded team works more efficiently, effortlessly and produces results that will far exceed your expectations.