Communication within a team is vital to the successful completion of a project. Team members can be reluctant to share with the rest of the team. Unless prompted and it is the responsibility of the team leader to keep lines of communication open.
Team leaders need to adopt an open-door policy so that team members aren’t discouraged from seeking support and advice when issues arise. And whilst it’s easy to do in traditional offices, if the team is in an open-plan office then there also needs to be respectful of “Do Not Disturb” signs.
Too much “chatter” can cause a failure of effective communication as much as too little real discussion can.
Team leaders have a duty to constructively criticise and analyse team members’ work. They also need to be capable of accepting feedback on their own work and management style. Team leaders that show they are capable of taking on board team members’ concerns come across as stronger leaders.
Talking may be an innate skill but not everyone can communicate effectively. Team leaders that have taken an APMG Project Planning and Control course can develop strategies. To not only facilitate better communication within their team but to know when to spot that team members are struggling with communication and how to encourage better communication. Team members benefit from understanding the reasoning behind how a project has been planned and organised. Training ByteSize offers such courses.
Also covered in an APMG Project Planning and Control Course is selecting the best scheduling and monitoring techniques for the project in question. Many traditional paper-based approaches have been taken into the cyber world and there is a plethora of Project Planning software that can be used to maintain project control.
One huge benefit of these computerised planning and control systems is that they integrate team communications with team scheduling. Tasks can be allocated and comments made about that specific task.
There are usually general channels for team members to “chat” about the project and direct messaging options should team members need to discuss an issue privately.
Effective communication is about knowing when you need to communicate. Meetings should be reserved for brainstorming and discussion. If the issue could be resolved by an email – or messaging through the project planning software – then don’t waste everyone’s time calling a meeting.
Lastly, one of the best ways to improve team communication is to build a stronger team. Institute team traditions, such as a 15-minute coffee break every morning, where team members come together socially.
Team members that are friends are more likely to keep communicating when they get back to work. It also offers an ideal opportunity for those informal discussions that barely merit typing out a message to someone and because of that often get forgotten about. Plus, nothing gets a group talking quicker than a shared grumble about the quality of the coffee.