The best teams operate like well-oiled machines. However, for these teams to perform their functions properly, they need to communicate effectively. A lack of clear communication can lead to missed deadlines, frustrated clientele and cost overruns.
For a team to mesh appropriately and perform efficiently, these communication issues need to be sorted out. The longer a team leader takes to do so, the more the team suffers as a result.
Luckily, there are several methods that a team leader or manager can implement to make for better communication. Below, 12 members of Forbes Agency Council discuss the things they do to resolve communication mishaps within teams.
1. Be Human
Treat your team like people. Notice that I said “team,” not “employees.” Build a culture that is cause for kinship, which fosters trust, which improves communication proactively, not reactively. – Damon Burton, SEO National
2. Connect Employees Across Silos
Sometimes what seems like a communications issue is actually a relationship issue. If your department or division operates in a silo without much awareness of other groups in the company, it may not occur to them to communicate. Create visibility across silos by featuring employees on the intranet, in publications, or even wellness programs and volunteerism, to build relationships across teams. – Elizabeth Baskin, Tribe, Inc.
3. Provide A Channel
In our office, we use Trello to help our team communicate so that we are all on the same page. There are now so many different applications available for this purpose, that it is silly to not use one. Communication is the most important part of a business running successfully. Why not use the tools that are available to us to simplify that step? – Zachary Binder, Bell + Ivy
4. Use A Project Management Tool
Utilizing a project management tool or app can help foster an organized and communicative environment within your company. Using the project management tool Basecamp 3 in our organization allows us to assign tasks, track progress and communicate effectively, both internally and with clients. This helps keep our entire team on schedule and reduce the likelihood of miscommunication. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media
5. Do Regular Standups
Phone calls are obsolete and emails get buried in your inbox. Depending upon the urgency of a project, daily or weekly “standups” with the key stakeholders can make a big difference. Schedule 15 minutes each day, same time, same place, for a quick touch-base. Each stakeholder can provide an update on progress from the prior day, activities for the current day and raise any concerns. – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®
6. Organize Weekly Meetings
Set aside time for weekly meetings. Each week, whether it be a 15 minute or an hour, meet with your team and employees. This allows the team to catch up on projects, discuss key issues and collaborate with each other. Communication is key to any client’s campaign. Weekly meetings allow you, as a boss, to see where communication is falling short and take next steps to addressing the issue. – Charles Mazzini, Hyperlinks Media, LLC
7. Embrace Authenticity And Goodwill
In my experience, when people aren’t communicating well it’s typically because they’ve got their guard up and don’t feel like they can be completely honest with one another. Are junior members afraid of being shamed for not understanding the task? Are bosses being more bossy than helpful? A culture of authenticity and a sense of goodwill goes a long way when it comes to effective communication. – April White, Trust Relations
8. Make It A Required Part Of The Process
One way we encourage communication is through our project management system. Projects literally can’t move from one stage to the next in our software without team participation and buy-in, which requires communication. It forces good habits to develop. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove
9. Go Back To The Scope
In my experience, communication is rarely the core problem. Most problems seem to crop up when there is a departure from the original vision for why a client is being served. When teams lose their way, I advise them to go back to the scope and understand what they promised the client and why it matters to them. The scope creates real clarity for action. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group
10. Embrace Feedback As Part Of Company Culture
Embracing feedback as an integral part of your culture is key to identifying potential issues that may arise. Through employee reviews, goal mapping and one-on-ones, our firm creates moments that focus on the opportunity to address feedback on whatever could be holding us back. Learning to listen to and improve upon feedback is a critical skill for anyone to truly grow and succeed. – Jessica Reznick, We’re Magnetic
11. Create Mutually Understood Expectations
Communication starts at the top with set standards, expectations and processes. Project management systems like Asana have been great for us to share project updates and assign tasks to hold teams accountable. When the right system is in place, it’s much easier to identify the human element behind a “breakdown” and address the unique reason something’s gone amiss. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH
12. Bring On A Team Whose Focus Is Client Success
Our company has grown that it became crucial to have a team solely dedicated to coordinating our clients’ campaigns. Everyone from sales to marketing to operations are totally client-focused. However, having a specific team dedicated to being “in the trenches” with our clients each step of the way has resulted in both successful campaign outcomes, and, just as importantly, client satisfaction. – Ajay Gupta, Stirista