Tuning In

Tuning In

Effective communication is critical to successful teamwork. But even when you are sharing important information, your success will depend on how well you and your teammate are on the same page.  You won’t necessarily agree with each other on the specifics, but you should agree on the purpose of the conversation.  Without alignment, you can end up with confusion, hurt feelings, and broken trust.  All of these will undermine your working relationship.

Better than starting every conversation with detailed intentions about what you want to achieve, you can share a shorthand for the type of conversation you need or want.


Critique- Invaluable to catching errors or gaps. Necessary to learn and grow. Always confronting so don’t ambush them, make sure they are ready for your insights.

Collaborate- It’s true, we are better together.  But make sure they want your help and not a sounding board before you jump in.

Clarify- Verify that you understand what they are saying. Don’t assume. A necessary waypoint when turning complaints into meaningful solutions.

Care- This is the best place to start when emotions are running high.  Be patient and give them room to vent and talk things through. Sometimes that’s all you need to do.

Celebrate- Before you hurry and rush to the next task, take a moment to savor success. Victory laps (literal & figurative) will remind you of how your hard work has paid off.  Don’t skip it!  By the way, this also applies to the bad stuff too.  It is ok to mourn too. I don’t recommend making it your permanent home, but pausing to acknowledge the tough failures and difficult changes will make the wins so much sweeter.


Each of these communication goals is like its own radio frequency, if you haven’t set your receiver to the station, you will miss what they are playing.  So tune in to your team- it will cut down on frustration, save time, and increase effectiveness.