During my many summers at camp, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of strong communication. Team members really want to know what’s going on, what’s expected of them, and how things are going. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.
What you talk about is what they will find important. Think about recent conversations you’ve had with your team. Did you talk about details? Big picture? Only negatives? The team will place importance on what you communicate most, so keep the main thing the main thing.
Cast Vision Early and Often. You can’t say it once a year and expect it to stick. Where are we going? What’s the goal? Remind your team of this over and over and over. It’s equally important to remember that it’ll be tough to succeed if you never cast vision in the beginning — you’ll always be catching up. Cast vision early, and re-cast it often.
Over-Communicate. Just when you sense you’ve said something too much, you are likely just beginning to get to a point where team members get it. Not everyone is an auditory learner. It helps to say it to the group, but maybe send a follow-up text and perhaps also write it down where everyone can see it. At camp, we talk through the schedule of events and also post the schedule on a large poster where team members can see it many times a day.
Celebrate the victories by communicating them. With a team, not everyone always knows what’s happening. Communicate the victories to everyone, even if they are not directly involved. “We had 15 first-time visitors today!” is great for all leaders to hear, even if some had no visitors in their class. Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated. Highlight.
Praise in public, correct in private. When you see team members succeeding, talk about it. Behavior that’s rewarded will be repeated, so highlight the things you want to see in team members. In contrast, approach team members in private when they’ve done something wrong or need correcting. No one likes to be called out in front of the whole team, and team members will appreciate you approaching them in private.
Meredith Teasley loves to talk and write about leadership, and is thankful for the “leadership lab” provided by CentriKid Camps. She’s learned the hard way that communication can make or break a team, and wants to help you succeed with your team by leading well and communicating well!