Picture some of the most high-performing teams you can think of:

  • The New Zealand All Blacks
  • The emergency services team responding to an accident
  • Even the parents working together every morning to get their kids to school and themselves to the office on time

Teams come in all shapes and sizes but they all have one thing in common:

Their success relies on effective communication.

What is effective communication?

We define communication as: “the process of using words, sounds, signals and behaviours to share information and ideas with someone else.”

When that information is heard, interpreted and understood by the receiver in the way the sender had intended, the communication is said to have been effective. There is a shared understanding of the information or idea.

Conversely, if the receiver misinterprets the information, instead of shared understanding, we have misunderstanding and confusion. The communication process has been ineffective.

The cost of ineffective communication

Many business issues arise as a result of misinterpretation and misunderstandings that can often be traced back to ineffective communication.

If you consider this in the context of your team – whether it’s a team of 2 or 2,000 – these misunderstandings (so a lack of shared understanding) can have a very negative impact that could be costing you time and money.

In fact, research has shown that in a team of 100 people an average downtime of 17.5 hours per week is spent clarifying miscommunication.

That’s 40% of the working week lost to communications inefficiencies!

Correlation between effective communication and high-performing teams

On the flip side, when communication is effective, it creates shared understanding, shared meaning and a common connection amongst the team.

This shared understanding creates a solid platform for trust to be built.

And trust in leadership is referenced by Gallup, Great Places to Work and Towers Watson as one of the primary contributors to high employee engagement.

Engaged employees are more likely to give discretionary effort which increases their overall performance and productivity.

And this delivers greater levels of success and better results not only for the individual themselves but for the whole team, the business and for your customers and other key stakeholders.

So if you want to create successful, highly-engaged, high-performing teams, then it all starts with effective leadership communication.