To follow up on item 6 from my post earlier today, how can you tell if you have good communication within a group? This is really essential within any kind of structure, hierarchical or not. I asked Lucas for input and added a few items from conversations I’ve had recently.
Things that indicate good communication:
People bring up questions and problems before they become crises.
Everyone involved is in agreement about each others’ roles and responsibilities.
People readily admit fault and take responsibility for their actions and decisions.
If a person doesn’t immediately have the answer to something, they state this and offer assistance finding the information (as appropriate to their role within the group).
When a person does have answers or information, they share it readily, and don’t use that knowledge to gain more power or control.
Signs of bad communication:
People seem to be withholding concerns or questions, and others who observe this don’t attempt to engage them in the discussion.
Discussions quickly turn into arguments, which may or may not seem relevant to the original topic. (Think of a married couple’s fight on a sitcom.)
Group members often avoid talking to particular people when gathering information or making decisions (going around them).
Outsiders get the sense that there’s an elephant in the room (something on everyone’s minds that no one wants to talk about).
One of my colleagues often talks about how people’s personal and professional lives are linked, particularly when it comes to communication. Most of us enter the adult world with only the (sometimes dysfunctional) patterns we learned at home. It can really kill all of your interactions with other people to not pay attention to the quality of communication you have in each of the parts of your life.
Does anyone have suggestions for other signs of good and bad communication patterns?