Communication is important because our minds are like black boxes and communication is what opens them up to others. But...when you only communicate when you need to, many times it’ll be too late.
Picture it this way: airport traffic controllers constantly talk with pilots flying in and out of the airport. They makes sure they’re up to speed on every flight’s location, altitude, speed, etc. It’s with those details that they anticipate and avoid collisions and plan for efficiency and safety.
By being in the know proactively, they are able to detect potential problems beforehand and address them before they happen. We can do this in teams too (and friendships, families, etc).
Here are a few specific ways in to communicate proactively:
- Don’t wait: when you feel something is amiss or wrong, talk it out. Don’t wait for it to cause problems. Also, resolving conflicts many times is the start of great ideas.
- You may have a lot of ideas, but they’re no use if they’re just in your head. Share and discuss them with the team, let them pitch in too.
- Ask for other people’s opinion and what they’re up to, don’t leave it up to them to do so (they could be thinking the same thing about you). Build (communication) bridges and keep them up.
- Communication is the first step to collaborating. Proactive communication is the first step to proactive collaboration!
- Share feelings, not just ideas. Other people will understand you and viceversa. Disagreements are much easier to handle this way.
- Share your train of thought too. Many times understanding how you got to an idea and your thoughts behind it is what’s missing for them to accept it, get behind it or at least value your work.
And I think this nugget is a nice way to end this post: