Are you a team leader or a project manager? Are you looking for ways in which you can enhance team outcomes and optimize your team’s project success rate? Then, in your busy schedule, you should certainly find a few minutes to prepare an intelligible and effective team communication plan.
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To elucidate, communicating helps to connect your team members and allows them to achieve your company’s strategic objectives and goals. It keeps your team motivated, engaged, and productive throughout their journey. Needless to say, as a leader, you would already know how important engagement and motivation are for team success.
To substantiate, according to a McKinsey report, well-collaborated teams have 20-25% higher productivity than non-collaborated teams. But unfortunately, not many companies have a solid team communication plan in order.
In fact, only 18% of employees are at the receiving end of effective communication during their performance reviews. Clearly, most organizations or employees lack a strategic communication blueprint to facilitate an effective exchange of information and knowledge among teams. Besides, a lack of effective team communication certainly pulls down team morale.
So, if you are seeing fewer engaged and motivated employees in your team today, especially in remote or hybrid teams. In that case, you need to weed out errors from your communication system and revive it.
And for your convenience, we have already laid down common team communication mistakes and how to avoid them. So, let's get moving.
Top 6 Team Communication Mistakes to Avoid in 2022
Mistake #1. Not Having a Hierarchy
If your team members don't know whom to respond to and when - this will create huge chaos in your workflow.
Suppose your team member needs input while conducting a virtual interview. But they have no clue who is in charge of recruitment-related matters in the team. This situation will either end up with you hiring an incompetent employee or losing a potential candidate due to internal miscommunication. In either case, you want to avoid such situations.
It is pretty simple to solve this team communication mistake - sit down and create a hierarchy chart. Define whom to contact in a particular situation. Also, mention what to do when the person is not available at the moment.
While you are defining communication structures, also tell your employees:
- Criteria to track performance
- Tools to use for communication
- Communication protocols, etc.
Mistake #2. Being a Micromanager
Yes, you being a micromanager could very well be a communication mistake. It is understood that you can't easily trust your team members, especially those who are working remotely. In fact, not only will it be a communication mistake but will also hamper the employee engagement levels.
But your constant calls and emails will only increase the pressure on your team. This can lead to low productivity and a loss of time.
Micromanagement can derail communication. But no follow-ups or constant communication is also harmful to your team's productivity.
In this context, the best solution is to get a collaboration tool. Having a team collaboration and management tool can solve most management issues, such as:
- A dashboard to assign tasks and manage workloads
- Easy to set up leave types and accrual rules
- Option to join your team members according to their time zones and locations
For example, you can create and distribute projects through a proper dashboard. You can set a timeline to complete the project and track progress in real-time. This way, you can monitor your team's progress without disturbing them. Hence, you can effectively accomplish the SMART goals of worthwhile team communication.
Mistake #3. Not Hearing Your Team
There is a fine line between being a leader and being a dictator. A leader is a person who listens to his team and not a dictator who simply orders things.
So, a big team communication mistake is not hearing your team or offering them a fair opportunity to share their opinions. It will reduce employees' morale and impact their productivity.
Practice one-on-one team meeting systems at your workplace. Interact with an individual or whole team to take their suggestions, ideas, and input. The need of the hour is to embrace the virtues of transformational leadership.
Create a company culture where employees can freely express their thoughts without any hesitation. Conducting frequent team meetings will build a positive environment in your office that will help to retain your good staff. That's because as per statistics, 58% of employees would consider leaving their jobs due to a negative office environment.
Mistake #4. Too Many Meetings
Meetings are now important to understand your team and provide them a chance to be heard. But having impromptu meetings without any notice or conducting meetings for small things is - simple waste of time and a big team communication mistake.
Too many meetings will disturb your team's schedule and delay their operations. So, you should conduct team meetings, but not too many.
But how many meetings are too many?
To decide the number of team meetings, adopt a structural approach. You should evaluate the need for meetings based on the data collected from your team.
Ask your teammates how frequently they want you to conduct individual or group meetings. Also, you should monitor the success of your meetings to know whether they are helpful in achieving your company's goals. Finally, eliminate meetings to show off simple processes. Instead, document your step-by-step procedures asynchronously and save the meetings for important discussions.
Mistake #5. Not Having a Separate Remote Communication Plan
Your remote and in-house team members have different needs. Office employees get a chance to participate in team discussions, workshops, intellectual training sessions, etc.
But unfortunately, remote employees don't get the opportunity to ask one-off questions at the desk. Thus, it is vital to draft a proper plan to train and communicate with remote employees. The best approach is to rely on the 7Cs of Communication as you prepare a separate remote communication plan.
Here are a few things that you should consider to create a remote communication plan:
- Select a mode of communication
- Prepare an effective training schedule
- Acquire necessary tools
- Compile learning materials
- Provide seamless training, etc.
Mistake #6. Not Using the Right Communication Mode
There are multiple communication tools and technologies available these days. This has created confusion for team managers to find the right communication mode to coordinate their whole team.
In addition, too many tools have created confusion and miscommunication among remote teams. For example, let’s say a few team members use instant messaging apps to communicate. Besides, others are using video calling tools; there will be no clear line for managers to regulate the communication.
Today, managers are running remote, hybrid, and office teams at the same time. Thus, they need a communication channel that seamlessly streams all their team members. They need a centralized dashboard to establish a smooth communication flow. Hence, it is time to embrace the idea of change management with respect to communication modes.
Let’s Eliminate Team Communication Mistakes!
Communication is an integral part of team management. You can't lead a successful team in the absence of effective collaboration.
Thus, you need to map out the communication hierarchies, and tools and define a proper communication plan before becoming a team leader. You need to note all your team communication mistakes and immediately fix them.
Remember, communication is a constant thing. So, keep on evaluating your team's communication level and make frequent efforts to uplift it.