Effective Team-Oriented Communication
Communication is not only an individual process, not only a subjective event, which we can analyse through our own subjective processes, procedures, sensations and emotional needs, but communication is also systemically influenced.
We are a product of our circumstances, you could say. And at the same time, we also shape our circumstances ourselves – so we are both product and creator. Analysing, visualising and pointing out systemic connections can help us understand the ways in which we do this.
In systemic thinking, the actions of people are always seen in relation to their development and in relation to their environment. The patterns of interaction are always seen in relation to the rules and power structures – and certain subjective interpretations of what we perceive in our environment and views are in turn dependent precisely on who we are, how we have developed, what kind of environment we work in, live in and what patterns of interaction we know, we have experienced and we can also exercise.
The systemic view therefore tries to avoid blind spots. We now want to consider with you what your communication system actually looks like: the communication system in the academic and professional field at work on the one hand, but, on the other hand also influenced by the surrounding communication systems: the family, friends, relationships, partnerships and so on.
Components of communication systems are of course the subjective own abilities, needs, interaction patterns, then the organisational structure in which I am – with its values, its organisational culture – the colleagues, the external influencing factors, so for example the partner organisations of the organisation in which I work, the suppliers for example, customers, clients, also the superiors and the superiors’ superiors in turn play a role in how I am directly influenced in my communication system; my family, circle of friends, partner.
Think about how you would map this communication system if you were to stand in the middle and map the different reference persons and systems around it. The communication system of you in relation to others can be different.
Effective team oriented communication
1.1 Your Communication system (30 min)
This exercise is about you developing a mind map of your own communication system. This should help you to understand where there are intensive and less intensive relationships and connections. Think about your own communication system, e.g. in your everyday professional life.
Actors: Who are you dealing with?
Distances: Who do you feel close to and who do you feel distant from?
Structures and contexts: Who ARE you ACTUALLY close to and who are you rather distant from? In which structures, which hierarchies do you work and communicate?
Communication contacts: With whom do you have a lot of communication and with whom less?
Conflicts: Where are there lines of conflict in this structure? How are you involved?
Draw a mind map.
- You stand in the middle.
- Draw other actors around you – pay attention to the distances, express who you are close to and who you are not. But also draw who you are actually close to – are there differences?
- Draw in hierarchies (superior of, colleague of, etc.) using labelled arrows.
- Draw lines of different thicknesses to show where there are communication flows and how intense they are.
- Draw in where conflicts exist and how you are involved in them.
Next, describe your communication system:
- 3 feeling words that express how you feel in a work-related conflict.
- 3 underlying needs that are important to you and that have been challenged in some way in this conflict.
Be creative – use different ways to express your relationships
Show your communication system to a person from your circle of friends, family or acquaintances and ask for feedback. Ask the person about the following points (take notes):
- where they find critical communication zones (e.g. conflictual, with potential for stress) and what you use to justify it
- where they discover communication resources that can be used for particularly successful situations of togetherness (e.g. fast, informal, relieving communication paths).
- where this communication system differs from their own.