Leaders and Team Communication: Pay Attention!

A team is more than a group of people. A team shares a common purpose that binds the group together. The primary tool for forming the group into a team is communication. Communication comes from the Latin word communicare–to share. It is the sharing, the communication, of a vision, mission and values that joins a group into a team.

Effective communication requires that both the sender of a message and the receivers of that message pay attention. It’s as if the sender and receivers are bound together by a rubber band. They are joined in a positive tension that allows and ensures sharing.

But here’s a problem–paying attention in today’s world is extremely difficult. You’ve heard the litany of distractions before: TV, radio, iPhones, iPods, iPads, YouTube, Facebook, Google, books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, films. The phrase “paying attention” is accurate–we have to give up focusing on other things and invest in what we’re saying or what is being said. It’s taxing work.

On an early morning walk with my wife Katie, I noticed a police car that had its signal lights on. I told Katie that when I young, police cars had just one signal light on the roof. The light was sometimes referred to as a “gumball machine.” (The picture below, which comes from one of Robert D. West’s galleries of car pictures, is a great illustration of how police cars once looked. I appreciate Mr. West’s permission to use this picture.)

Katie said: “It takes a lot more now to get people’s attention.” She’s absolutely right. If police cars today were equipped as the police car in the picture above–no one would even notice it! There’s just too much else going on. Play the brief video from istockphoto below to see how police grab our attention today:

http://www.brillianceactivator.com/wp-content/uploads/Police-Car.mov

The dilemma for leaders and teams is finding the time, the place and the media that ensure positive, accurate and enabling communication. We need ommunication that grabs attention and is worth attending to. Sticking with what used to work will no longer work today.

Next week we’ll deal with how leaders can use time, place and media to positively effect team communication. So pay attention!

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  1. […] « Leaders and Team Communication: Pay Attention! Leadership and Team Communication: Do You Have a Minute? By Chuck Dymer | Published: February 15, […]

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