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Effective Team Communication: How To Build It

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No or late feedback. No idea who to report to directly. Not sure who works on what. Fleeting deadlines without delivery.  Poor planning and execution. Long untidy email and chat threads. Piling tasks. Does any of that strike a chord? Of course, and they wreak of poor team communication, no?

Well, I’ve had my fair share of it. And I’m currently on a journey of achieving constructive communication goals in my team. Meanwhile, In my most recent article: How Important Is Effective Team Communication? I had discussed the fundamentals of constructive team communication. You can check it out.

You’d never really know how important it is to develop good communication loops in your team until you have an analysis of how much money your organization is losing in the form of low productivity.

Here are a few tips I’ve discovered, and I’m willing to experiment with them. While this article does not promise to take away all the communication issues, adopting a few tips here, I’m sure would make some worthwhile changes in your team.

10 Tips For Building Effective Team Communication

1. Guarantee Clarity Of Roles And Tasks

The biggest challenge in team communication is the issue of teammates not knowing their roles in the team, who their direct reports are, or what expectations are for their roles. 

Then, you’d hear such statements as “I’m not sure who I had to report to.”

Yeah. I would know because I’ve been there and done that. 

As a manager or team lead, every member of your team and your direct reports must understand their roles, the expectations, and the metrics for measuring success for their role. And it’s up to you to ensure that it happens. However, it’s important to note that the expectation for a role is very different from the job description for a role, which is a less descriptive version of it.  

Similarly, clarity of tasks greatly impacts efficiency, effectiveness, and in the short-haul, productivity. Look at it in this way; No one would work at maximum efficiency on a task they do not understand, that is, if they are even capable of starting at all.

So, you’d find there’s better team communication with clarity of roles and tasks.

To eliminate drag from teamwork, proactively illuminate grey areas around roles and tasks. – Tweet this

2. Embrace Mobile And Project Management Tools

Project management tools are great for maintaining effective team communication. Teammates can find the details of their tasks, task deadlines, collaborators, and can even leave comments for efficient progress feedback.

Mobile phones have greatly improved aspects of living, and work is not missing on that list.  Because of their portability, they’re carried around almost all the time. So, you can conveniently use the mobile version of your chosen team communication and collaboration tools for agile performance.

My team conveniently communicates and manages projects on mobile, and it saves a lot of resources while improving productivity.

3. Find The Rhythm

As a team lead, I aim to increase team efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. Yet, over time, I’ve come to understand that it all revolves around team communication. Discovering a rhythm is a strategy I’m exploring with my team. 

Finding and adapting a rhythm is ensuring that certain vital team operations progress seamlessly in a consistently efficient fashion at every point. While there are organizational-wide patterns, you can create;

  1. weekly or fortnight one-on-one sessions,  
  2. daily check-ins, 
  3. start-of-week meetings, and 
  4. Monthly strategy brainstorming sessions

While these create the opportunity for effective team communication, it also creates opportunities for your team to re-align, understand expectations, and need to enhance productivity. 

However, as Devin Mercier states it in 7 simple ways managers can improve team communication;

Each of these touchpoints is an opportunity to clarify needs and expectations, create alignment and consistency, and ultimately promote productivity. Every touchpoint should have a clear objective so that it’s an effective use of time and not just another meeting on the calendar.

4. Always Stay Factual

You may not have realized it just yet, but there’s a need to let your team understand why tasks should be done, and that “why” is not because you asked. One way to let them see that “why” is to use data when communicating.

Let the data show them how much their roles contribute to the overall goal of the company. While this builds traction in team communication, it also helps you evaluate individual performance.

5. Take Responsibility

Now, if you haven’t been doing this already, I have one word for you. 

“It’s not too late to start.” Oh! That’s a whole sentence.

Responsibilities are never easy but everyone has to take some, now and then. And for someone like you, that means always. Being able to take responsibility for your decisions and that of your team builds a level of trust. It improves team communication, effectiveness, and ultimately team productivity.

6. Promote Transparency

I may not be adept at any of the methods in this article (in fact, I’m about putting them all to test), but I appreciate transparency in teams. I try to promote the same in my team.

Promoting honesty and information sharing without bias in a team is very essential to building the kind of trust that drives effective collaboration in the workplace.  When there are transparency and neutrality in a team, teammates feel safe and are more open to each other.

7. Develop A Feedback Loop

Encourage members of your team to give direct feedback on performance, and processes, with suggested ways for improvements. 

Also, it’s important to give direct individual feedback to your teammates to help them adjust and realign themselves. Meanwhile, you too should take direct personal feedback, that way you’d know how you are performing.

If it’s not coming, ask for it from your teammates, and let them know how you’d implement their suggestions. It nurtures effective team communication while allowing everyone to grow. 

8. Leverage Communication Training Sessions

Last year, we had an agile and human relations training at the hub. I can’t tell you enough how much change the training made to team interaction. 

Such training equips you and your teammates in how to address communication gaps, give active feedback to improve constructive team communication.

9. Practice Documentation

Document! Take notes! As my boss would always imply;

You’d always forget when you don’t take notes. Most ridiculously successful people take notes. – Tweet this

You can’t make mental notes of all your commitments, feedback, and performance of teammates all the time. Documenting your one-on-one sessions, and other sessions with your teammates help you stay in line with your goal of delivering on your commitments. 

When you deliver on your commitments, it builds reliance and trust between you and your teammates.

10. Do Fun Too

Who says there can’t be fun at work? Doing fun things together as a team lets everyone interact informally while delivering their tasks. 

Yet, you’d also find that when people interact in that manner, they build a level of acquaintance that makes working together toward goals more seamless.

During a game session in that agile and human relations training, I got to talk to people I worked with but had never spoken to.

I could recall thinking to myself, “Wow! This person is really cool” just by learning that we listen to the same kind of music and have a likeness for the same artiste. I still feel good working with this person, because we connected on a whole new level.

What’s Next?

It’s over to you now! Writing this article has helped me pick up a few tips to help me improve feedback and communication in my team. Yet, for me, it’s a journey, and you are very welcome to tag along.

I’d be trying some tips with my team and would share my progress and any other new methods I discover in later posts.

Here’s a quick summary of the tips for building team communication;

  1. Guarantee clarity of roles and tasks
  2. Embrace mobile and project management tools
  3. Find the rhythm
  4. Always stay factual
  5. Take responsibility
  6. Promote transparency
  7. Develop a feedback loop
  8. Leverage communication training sessions
  9. Practice documentation
  10. Do fun too.

I’m willing to find more tips on this. You can share in a comment what worked for your team or have never worked in the past. If this was helpful, you can also find us on twitter @starthubtech.

Until next time, stay frosty!

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