Running a Team Briefing
Why Team Briefings are so Important?
Part of managing people is getting all the widely differing individuals who work for an organisation, to work together as a team, understanding common goals and common difficulties.
One of the most effective methods of motivating individuals is by communicating the aspirations, goals, successes and any forthcoming changes to the individuals within the organisation.
Conducting regular, structured team briefings is an effective method of achieving both of these objectives at the same time. Individuals cannot co¬operate fully unless they know what is expected of them and why it is so important!
What are the Benefits?
1. Achieving commitment. For any organisation, commitment and enthusiasm are vital. It is very difficult to achieve either unless people understand the importance of their contribution. Team Briefing assists people to give their best.
2. Reducing misunderstanding. Explaining priorities, decisions and deadlines enables everyone to see their significance and avoids delay through misunderstanding.
3. Disarm the ‘grapevine'. As facts, plans and decisions are communicated on a regular basis, the grapevine becomes redundant.
4. Improves consultation and promotes ownership. Individuals who feel they have a voice are more likely to work within a system, even if they would have preferred a different system.
5. Two-way communication. Regular Team Briefing ensures that the team leader is also up to date with developments and opinions within the workforce, enabling questions to be dealt with sooner rather than later and any potential problems to be relayed back to the management team.
What is Team Briefing?
Team Briefing is based on six principles
1. They are carried out face-to-face.
2. They are carried out in small teams (4-15 people) to ensure everyone has the chance to participate fully.
3. They are carried out by the team leader.
4. They are held on an established, regular basis.
5. They are relevant to the team, the organisation and the work.
6. They are monitored regularly to ensure even-ness of quantity and quality of delivery.
What to Talk About?
Team Briefings can be split into the following categories
• Progress. Benchmarks of performance such as this month's achievements, how the team is doing, new initiatives, successes and failures etc.
• Policy. Changes in systems or routines, new deadlines, holiday staffing arrangements, pension arrangements etc.
• People. Who is coming and who is going and why, promotions, transfers, where other departments fit in and liaison with them etc.
• Points for Action. Housekeeping, quality, Health & Safety, special jobs etc.
Team Briefing is time set aside whereby for twenty minutes or half an hour on a regular basis (usually monthly), team leaders can talk to their team so that everyone is kept informed by their immediate boss on what is\relevant to them. To co-ordinate this and make it happen, a regular pattern is established with times, dates and places.
Although we of course communicate daily with the people who work with us, this is an opportunity to review what's happened over the last month and what we need to concentrate on in the future. It is not an additional task to be undertaken grudgingly, it is part of the role of an effective leader which brings benefits to the individuals, the team and the organisation.
1. The emphasis of a team briefing should be on information which is particularly relevant to the team.
2. When relaying information from senior managers, you should make your commitment to management decisions very clear. Even if you disagree with a decision, make it clear that you will ensure the decision is carried out.
3. You should always include alongside your 'Core Brief’ from senior management, information which emphasises the 'what it means for us' aspect. Personalise it for your team.
4. Always prepare what you are going to say, the order in which you are going to say things and the emphasis you are going to give each item. The Team Briefing form will assist you in your preparation.
5. Ensure you allow sufficient time to check the briefing with your manager or get clarity on any points you are unsure about.
6. One of the most important elements of a team briefing is that everyone should know how they are performing as a team, a department and as an organisation. Individuals can then fit their own contribution into the bigger picture. Information about where an individual's work contributes to the bigger picture enhances understanding and motivation.
1. Prepare your notes well in advance and in your own words. Use headings highlighting key points. Writing notes word for word will tempt you to read them and become stilted. The Team Briefing form will help you.
2. Anticipate likely questions and prepare the answers. If you do not know the answer to a particular question, don't worry. Because Team Briefing is a regular, planned activity, you can always find out the answer ready for the next briefing session.
3. Organise a file in which to keep the paperwork. Keep all your briefing notes so that you can refer back to them when necessary. These notes will form a useful record of areas covered and also item which need to be followed up. Human Resources may ask to see your notes as part of the annual Communication Audit carried out with the Chief Executive.
4. Get into the habit of noting down anything which is suitable for the briefing, between briefings, eg. a good job done, quality issues, updates from items from previous briefings, etc.
Name of briefer:
Items & Key points
Notes & Actions
Dates of next Briefing:
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