Bees have one of the most complex communication languages in the animal kingdom outside humans. When a honey bee identifies a source of pollen, she heads to the colony with the details of the exact location in terms of direction and distance of the food source. When she gets home, she alerts others of the presence of the food source through a specialised dance called the waggle dance. This is the highest display of teamwork which every team ought to emulate. In the event when bees die as a result of entering a field sprayed with chemicals, it is only until others know that something is amiss and they alert those back home. This explains why only a few hours after one honey bee has visited a particular flower that many others are seen around the same flowers. The same applies after a farmer has sprayed some insecticides in a field, the honey bees quickly communicate to members of the team of the impending danger.
The waggle dance is meant at communicating the distance and the direction of the food source. In a short while, the rest of the team members are flying out of the colony heading to the particular flowers to gather the pollen. There is no better way to inspire for great communication than this. If team members are alert to each other’s communication, great results are obtainable. It doesn’t matter how good you are as an individual, if you cannot convey and receive information relating to the team, then nothing much will be achieved.
At the heart of teamwork is the ability by all teammates to communicate with each other. There is no establishment that stands without effective communication at work. lt is interaction that fuels action. The continuity of the team helps in creating understanding of where everyone and the entity is headed. Communication can be both formal and informal. It also ought to be hinged on total trust of each other. Great teams have members who are continuously talking and listening to each other. Great teams have members who are constantly talking and listening to each other. Interestingly, the level of buzzing in the beehive is always high but the job is accomplished.
Central to communication is being in a position to motivate and manage unnecessary and uncalled for conversations that are detrimental to the team. Grapevine can be very destructive to the quest for team effort. ln addition to this, the tendency to create unnecessary factions and mini groups within the team has the effect of creating mistrust.
Communication ought to be open in all directions- upwards, downwards and diagonally. Whether it is from the leader to the teammates, from the teammates to the leader or amongst the team members, consistent, clear and courteous conversations must be promoted. No one should fear any reprisals for having aired their views. Even if people disagree when they have brought something to the table, this stands to be good for the team as the divergent views are explored. lt is always better to have divergent views freely shared as a basis of building formidable solutions that are long lasting. When a member disagrees with the rest, it doesn’t mean they have chosen to be in opposition. lnstead, it shows that they are committed to the betterment of the team.
Free flow of information ensures that everyone is on the know. Members of great teams are continuously in touch with each other. In the event that the team members operate in different geographical locations, the need for communication to remain open gets higher. Dedication and commitment to communication fires action in the team. Lack of such hinders progress. Good communication can be enhanced through such programmes as training, coaching, motivational and pep talks to keep everyone focused on the bigger goals.
Team action is hampered and comes to a standstill when communication is erratic. Duplication of effort can take place. Some work remains undone whilst somebody is thinking that someone has done it yet nobody would have committed themselves. The general thinking by one department that they are being undermined by others rises.
“Whose Job Is It, Anyway?”
A story is told of four people, Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. An important job had to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.
The story may be confusing but the message is clear as no one took responsibility. Nothing got accomplished at the end of the day. This tends to happen in a team set up where there is no clarity in terms of communication and accountability. Lack of proper communication leads to the blame game.
Louid V. Gersyner had this to say; “It’s about communication. It’s about honesty. It’s about treating people in the organization as deserving to know the facts. You don’t try to give them half the story. You don’t try to hide the story. You treat them as – as true equals, and you communicate and you communicate and communicate.”