Why is communication so important in teams?
Crew-Glue's blog Why is communication so important in teams?
Written by: Sara Ballinger
What is communication?
Communication AKA ‘the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium’.
Seems simple right? Well, at its core it is, but when you start to drill down into all the areas that form communication, we realise that it is highly complex and something we sometimes take for granted.
However, fear not, our aim today is to break down those areas and factors to give you not only a better understanding of how communication works and why it’s important for teams, but also how you can improve your communication onboard – both personally and professionally!
Communication is a skill!
We all have natural inherent skills and we all have ones we’ve had to learn and perhaps work a little harder at. Communication is also a skill. Some of us may be naturally skilled at it and find it easy whereas some of us may have to work a little harder at it.
And that’s absolutely fine, great in fact. We’re all different and as a team we all need to be – especially when working onboard with a range of job roles and responsibilities that require different skill sets and personalities.
So how do we navigate these differences when onboard and ensure our communication is effective and everyone is ‘speaking the same language’?…and we don’t just mean actual different languages….
Firstly we need to look at why is communication so important?
At its core, having effective communication within a team will not only build a common purpose among team members but it will allow everyone to reach their common and personal goals.
It’s not just about ‘getting the job done’ – teams that are having frequent and friendly communication will also develop a sense of belonging and strengthen their relationships with each other.
With research showing that ‘69% of people who have personal relationships or friendships with their coworkers report job satisfaction and that they are engaged at work, compared to less than one third of people who do not’ (Lumen Learning), it’s a no-brainer that teams that have better interpersonal relationships with each other work better together as a team.
This is exactly what communication is designed to do – allow people to better understand each other and be better understood themselves.
Why is communication so important onboard a yacht?
It’s no secret that working onboard a yacht is extremely busy and fast-paced.
Safety, guest requests and the weather are just a few of the factors that affect life onboard and can all change in an instant!
So as a crew, you need to be able to act fast, problem solve and make decisions quickly. All whilst communicating this to each other and ensuring that tasks are being done safely and efficiently.
Again it seems simple, but a common mistake of communication is assuming it’s been done. As George Bernard Shaw famously said “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.
And it’s true, assuming that something has been communicated without checking is one of the most common mistakes all teams make.
So, how can you make sure you’re communicating effectively?
Here are our Top 3 ways to help communicate as a team…
- Ask Questions: this works both ways. If you’re asking someone to do something, make sure you ask if they know how to do it.
Assuming that someone knows what they’re doing when you ask them to do it or them knowing the plan has changed is one of the most common mistakes in something not getting done properly which can lead to conflict.
Similarly if you’re being asked to do something and you’re not sure how – ask how to. Not knowing how to do something is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. It shows you’re willing to learn and that your priority is making sure the job gets done properly rather than showing you ‘know it all’.
- Listen: it seems easy and we all think we’re doing it naturally but listening is one of the most easily forgotten parts of communication and undeniably one of the most important.
This again works both ways, it’s not just about rank and leaders telling crew what to do, it’s about everyone listening to each other.
Make sure you’re listening to what your crew is saying to you. It’s also not just about the actual task at hand but also about how they’re feeling.
- Think about what you want to say first: life is busy and fast paced onboard and so communication can sometimes be cut short and delivered in a curt manner as it’s viewed as more effective.
By thinking about the person interpreting this, by spending a little more time on what you want to say, how you want to say it and who you want to say it to will help you deliver that information more effectively.
How can we help?
We hope you try some of these communication tips with your crew and that they help you all in becoming a better communicator.
If you need some more help, well that’s what we’re here for. Offering both online and in-person support to crews onboard yachts, we’d love to see how we can assist you and your crew be the best you can be.
We’ve said it before and trust us we’ll say it again – as teams we are #StrongerTogether. Investing time into making sure you and your crew are communicating effectively is just one of the ways teams can work happier, healthier and more harmoniously together.