A team is as only as good as its communication skills. This is particularly important with a virtual team. I don’t have to tell you that getting your point across via email or text message can be a lot harder than doing it in person. Working on communication skills is one of the best things you can do for your team and your business.
Reasons Why It’s Crucial That Your Team Members Communicate
Work Gets Done Faster
Communicating effectively means there’s less back and forth and the work gets done faster. It also gets done right and the way you need it to be done. And it starts with you. Make sure you are clear on the scope of the project and who is responsible for what part. Don’t forget about deadlines. Let your team know what needs to be done when to make sure everything progresses smoothly.
You Don’t Have To Play “Middleman”
How much time and mental energy to you spend each day being the “go-between” for different members of your team? I bet it’s a lot more than you think. Encouraging your team members to talk to each other instead of going through you for everything will not only save you a lot of time, it also keeps you from having to keep mental tabs on everything that’s going on. You don’t need to be aware of every single step and every single little problem that creeps up.
In the end, all you really need to be concerned about is getting the end product. Yes, you want to know if there are serious issues, or if something will cause a delay that might affect a launch, but you don’t need to know about all the little stuff that can be ironed out by your team.
It Strengthens Your Team Members
Letting your team communicate with each other and figure stuff out without having you involved will also strengthen it overall. It will build the confidence of each team member and over time, they will learn new skills as they talk to each other.
All of this will of course also lead to a team that works better together and gets stuff done. And that’s the big end goal, isn’t it?
Teams are a great way to work. There is strength in numbers, and a robust team can get just about any job done that is assigned to it. But, there are ways to build a strong, dynamic team and these tips can help.
Shift the Focus Away from the Individual
There is a reason why people cite the overused phrase, “there’s no ‘i’ in team.” This is largely because teams work best when they function as a unit. It’s as true in business as it is in sports or any other activity. Think about sports teams who have a few hot-dogs. Except in rare instances, the team members do not do well when this occurs. A cohesive team always performs best.
Set Goals with Team in Mind
There are plenty of dependencies that need to be considered when working in a team. Each member will contribute, and this needs a coordinated effort. When planning projects for a team, managers should get buy-ins from each member but with the team as a whole.
Ensure Proper Communication
Without communication, members of the team will end up doing their own activities, without regard to how it affects the team. It’s important to coordinate all the activities of each member. This responsibility falls on the manager. However, certain team members will take the lead to make sure the team is functioning properly.
Consider Activities Outside the Office
Strong teams occur when the team members know each other, inside-and-out. This doesn’t usually happen in the office environment alone. Interacting outside the office is important for team dynamics. It can be as simple as meeting once a week for drinks after work. The more activities outside the office the team gets involved with, the better.
Team Building Activities That Help Others
More companies are discovering that having their teams get involved with volunteering can help to build the sense of community of the team. It feels good to help people, and this carries through to the team dynamic. The team members can relate their experiences to each other which serves to strengthen the group.
Have Fun as a Team
There is no rule that says you can’t have fun when working in a team. Try to set up activities in the workplace where members of the team can have fun while working. This takes some buy-in from management. But if teams show they are more productive when they have fun, management shouldn’t have a problem with letting that happen.
Dealing with Problems
Overall, teams figure out how to handle problems that happen within. They step up and help out a weak member. However, this cannot continue on indefinitely and sometimes a manager will have to take control of the situation. It’s always best to let the team try to work it out first.
Steve Jobs talks about managing people and team work video
Ways Of Taking Action
Think of two different types of external events that you and your team can participate in. If you are the leader of the team, ask each member to do the same. You could turn this into a monthly event where members alternate with the responsibility.
Create a journal for the team that records solutions to problems the team has dealt with. This gives the team something to reference should they ever come across a similar problem in the future. Don’t rely on the memories of the team members. Sometimes, problems can present themselves many months or even years later. The team may not have all of the same members as it did when the problem first occurred.
Help out a weaker member of the team. Sometimes, all it takes to have the person turn around is to show them what to do. Other members can gang up on the weaker members. By diverting the situation, you can strengthen the weaker member and advocate on their behalf. Monitor their progress and if it continues to be a problem, consider working with your manager for solutions.
For More Information
Make it easy for your team to communicate and encourage them to talk to each other, help each other and get to know each other on a more personal level as well. A team that communicates well will become more productive and able to take more tasks off your hands – allowing you to focus and you team members to continue exploring new ideas to help growing the business.