‘Communication’ – The most important team member.

18 Feb

We all learn how to speak and write at a very young age, but the ability to communicate is an entirely different skill.  Communication is the transfer of information from one person to another. This sounds like an easy process but in actual fact everyday people get it so wrong. To properly convey a message the receiver must be listening attentively and willing to accept the information being transmitted otherwise there is a breakdown in communication. In projects and teams this is where disaster strikes. There are 10 main characteristics for a successful team and without the use of strong communication and co-operation none of these are possible

  • Clearly defined goals
  • Clearly  defined roles
  • Open and clear communication
  • Effective decision making
  • Balanced  participation
  • Valued diversity
  • Managed  conflict
  • Positive atmosphere
  • Cooperative  relationships
  • Participative  leadership

Once the team’s goals and mission have been established, the project team members’ roles must be clearly defined. What is expected of each individual, and by when? The problem is that we fail to solicit feedback from team members to be really sure that they understand their roles and responsibilities.  To compound the problem further, team members themselves are sometimes reluctant to admit that they don’t understand. This reluctance appears to be a result of our tendency in school to put people down for asking “stupid” questions. So, as adults, rather than admit that they don’t understand, people interpret what they have been told and try to do the best job that they can with what they think they know.

Project managers must establish a climate of open communication with the team, a climate in which no one feels too intimidated to speak up. The best way to do this is to comment on the problem: “I know some of you may feel reluctant to speak up and say you don’t understand, but we can’t operate that way. Please feel free to be candid. If you don’t understand, say so.”  Team members must be clear on the fact that if they don’t agree with something or don’t understand an assignment or task, it is critical that they speak up. As well as this some people are nervous to speak in front of a group to informing them that they can contact the team leader via email is a good way to sort this problem. Verbal communication sometimes may create misunderstandings and confusions, thus it is always better to rely on written communication for better clarity and transparency.

No project has a hope of being successful if the group working on it doesn’t understand what they’re doing, or can’t communicate properly with one another to get it finished. So before any project starts or project group is formed an open ground for communication must be found first.

One Response to “‘Communication’ – The most important team member.”

  1. sad112759089 February 19, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    Great Title!

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