Every project manager would like to know the secret of an ideal team. In fact, each sees their perfect team in their own way. Is there a single organizational rule that would be useful to any collaborative environment in need? Probably not. However, the understanding of what the team is like, how it works, and why exactly certain method of work is effective is still necessary.
Undoubtedly, communication plays an important role in the organization of a smooth workflow. In this article, we will try to reveal 5 components of team communication and how they positively influence collaborative work.
1. Clear goals as a characteristic of a good team
First of all, to identify strategies for effective team communication one should talk about the goals. Some people go to work to earn money, and there is nothing shameful about it. Whether a person works alone or in a team, the initial goal of every employee is to get paid.
However, there’s more to it than money.
People would like to improve their skills in the chosen industry, grow professionally, which can also be a personal goal.
And how do personal goals relate to the teamwork? Considering the fact that each member of a team has personal goals, if a common goal is absent, the work will be done extremely bad. Everyone will pursue their own goals forgetting about what the whole team is working on. The quality of work will be getting increasingly worse in this case. Moreover, conflicts can arise based on disagreements, and that can completely destroy the team and the work process as a whole.
To avoid misunderstandings in the team, increasing the efficiency of work and the quality of cooperation, it is necessary to set a clear and understandable goal for all its members. A good goal that is capable of uniting and improving the quality of the work process has two compulsory qualities:
- It does not contradict the personal goals of the participants;
- It necessarily leads to improvement of the product.
The goal of the project should not go against the needs of team members. So, if it takes 12 hours in a row or more to work on a project, it’s a bad goal. Work for the sake of work does not improve the product, moreover, overloaded schedule will almost certainly force the team to consider another job. Find a compromise between what the team members are striving for and what is good for the product. For this purpose, your team will work much more seamlessly, and you can avoid a lot of problems during the development process.
2. Does a perfect team imply shared leadership?
Now, let’s get closer to communication in the team. What are the most important components of teamwork we have not mentioned yet? If the goal is the basis of communication in a team, then the responsibility for its quality rests on the leader of the team.
It is believed that in any case there can only be one responsible person. The reason is that if you assign a task to several people, none of them will feel responsible for that since there is someone else who also has to perform this job. As a result, the task is sluggish, deadlines are expired.
However, there is another side to the coin. A leader can impose the team’s opinion and methods of solving problems, and also set the goals of the team above those of others. As you can see, in both cases you can face a number of problems.
What can you do to establish an effective team communication in such case? First of all, it is necessary to understand that responsibility should come from the inner motives of an employee, and not be imposed from the authorities. This is the secret of effective leadership in the team. Decisions are made after discussion and interaction with each other, and leadership passes to the one who is more experienced in a certain area. It turns out that the best form of leadership in the team is a situational leadership. In this case, participants can comfortably communicate and cooperate with each other increasing the efficiency of their work.
There is a natural distribution of roles in a team with properly established communication. The team members are aware of each other’s experiences and skills and take it into account when assigning tasks and roles. At the same time, the quality of work is improving, and the team members feel needed and unlock their potential at work.
Also, a healthy team communication is characterized by sharing experiences between project participants. Some companies arrange special events for that, others allow such communication directly during the work. The basis of this approach is adequacy and the desire to help teammates, not just to show that one knows everything better. Joint work and mutual assistance help to establish a favorable climate in the team.
3. Values and effective team member communication
Communication is possible only when people are able to hear someone else besides themselves. In the workflow, communication is a necessity, so it is important that people understand each other and are able to reach mutual agreement. To maximize the ease of communication in the team and avoid conflicts, it is necessary to avoid team values distortion.
The main value of teamwork is communication itself. There are things that can not be done alone, and teamwork is just one of them. At the same time, remember that your own interests, views, opinions about the project or ideas for its improvement are secondary values. Communication is always in the first place for a team, whereas a product is primary for a project. The lack of team communication leads to stagnation, loss of focus, unpleasant conflicts, demotivation, and fatigue. Thus, the importance of team communication is evident here.
How to defeat such consequences of miscommunication? Another important value in the team is respect. Everyone can speak their minds and everyone wants to be heard and seen. Do not allow situations where the decision is made without thoughtful consideration of other points of view. Talk, discuss, experiment, and appreciate the contribution of each participant.
4. Engagement, feedback, and other key elements of highly effective teams
The main strength of the team is that each member can get help and support at any moment. The team not only helps us to divide complex projects into parts and execute them at a higher speed, but also makes each employee’s work more efficient. If we consider all the categories of effective teams separately, we will see how many positive moments the teamwork gives us:
- Recognition. Each member of the team knows they are important, needed and also understand the contribution of other participants to the common cause.
- Positivity. The team is determined to overcome difficulties and do what they like.
- Feedback. There is no place for silence on the project. Everyone should freely express their opinion. Constructive criticism is welcome, but it is also worth suggesting how to solve the problem. Sharing experience is also an important and integral part of the work process.
- Trust. All the processes on the project are transparent and everyone has access to the information they need. None of the team members harm one another for their own benefit and recognition. The needs of workers are taken into account, so they do not need to conceal anything.
- Support. Each person needs communication and support. Since people spend a considerable part of their time at work, they need to be able to find support there, if necessary.
When we speak about what are the five components of team communication, it is necessary to mention such traits of efficient relation in teams:
- Clearness in judgment
- Good listening skills
In our opinion, these are precisely five elements of effective teamwork. And what happens when a team has certain problems in communication? In this case, we can face:
- Information overload
- Empty communication
- Defensive position of team members
- Disputes and conflicts
Even if you encounter something mentioned above, it is not the reason to feel desperate. Any team can become effective. Only the awareness of the problem and the desire to change for the better are required to do that.
5. Useful tools for setting a working environment
As 5 major components of teamwork are already considered, let us look at the tools needed to boost communication in your team. Today the application market for effective communication organization is quite wide. This allows any organization to find a solution suitable for a particular project and specific people. Nevertheless, in order to simplify the search and give a first idea of what programs exist on the market and what features they provide, we will give a brief description of them below. These tools will be a good supplement to five components of team communication mentioned above.
Chanty is a simple messenger using AI to increase team communication productivity greatly. Its developers claim the app works as if giving you three extra hours in a day. Also, it provides unlimited message history, simple file sharing via attachments and drag & drop interface, powerful search, and organized communication tools – everything is for free! Safety, shortcut access to your teammates and fun collaboration is now can be put into your pocket, as Chanty is also available on iOS and Android devices.
Bitrix24 is a free suite of different collaboration tools. Each tool is optimized to provide unity in your company. The suite consists of more than 35 instruments. As an all-in-one collaboration tool, it gathers instruments for communication, management, helpdesk, learning, etc. The app is free, but if you want to upgrade the solution and gain even more features, there are paid plans with more benefits.
Slack is primarily a messaging app, connecting team members wherever they need to be. One can ask, why does the team need another messenger? Constant messaging is one of the strategies for effective team communication. The fact is that this application allows you to set up both a group and an individual correspondence. A number of flexible settings and wide application capabilities make it popular among other Slack alternatives.
Zoom is one of the best apps for video and web conferencing. Its versatility beats all the records: you can use the application on any device. This makes it possible to work on the go, as well as access the conferences from any available device. The use of the application is absolutely free, but there are also paid versions with enhanced functionality. The cost is not greater than $20 per month, while the opportunities are vast. Currently, more than 350,000 companies across the whole world use it daily.
RedBooth is a great solution for efficient project management, which helps establish positive and effective communication in a team. This solution is also all-in-one and embraces real time chat, email, file storage, daily task management, and so on. In addition, it has quite intuitive design and can be easily accessed by inexperienced users.
Summary: 5 components of team communication
Communication is an essential part of life in society as a whole. Therefore, we cannot ignore such a sphere of our life as communication in organization of an effective workflow. Unfortunately, sometimes teams have difficulties in establishing effective communication during the implementation of projects.
However, all problems can be solved by discussions, compromises and the application of modern techniques and technologies. Remember, everything is in your hands. Do not be afraid to change the climate in the team for the better. In this article, we tried to collect information that will help you find your way to improve communication at work. We hope it will help you solve your problems and make your life easier.
Also published on Medium.