Are we all on the same page?
Communications is crucial to high performing teams. Are all of your employees communicating effectively? Chances are the answer is “no.” Below are some common reasons for why communications issues exist within your group.
Attention to detail – When there is a mismatch between detail given and detail expected you can expect tension to rise. Here is an example: An assistant gives her boss a message: “Call Jean.” Boss comes back asking “Jean who and why am I calling?” The assistant, somewhat exasperated, replies: “You know Jean Smith and about the special order. We talked about it this morning!” Now both of them are irritated. I watch this unfold time and time again with my clients. The level of detail shared between two people has to be appropriate to the situation. Feedback and training clears this up fairly quickly and saves everyone time.
Work is not handed off appropriately – E-mails are endless, paper continues to pile up and cell phone interruptions are chronic….and in between there is some other work to be done. Problems often occur when work is transferred from one person or department to another. Ensure that people take accountability for their work and don’t devolve into the blame game. Who is responsible for what? What does the next person need to move the work along? What is expected?
Information is not provided to key team members – Have you ever done a follow up only to find out the information was already provided to a team member who “forgot” to share it? This happens quite commonly. When it happens let the person know the impact on the team and make sure it gets onto the employee’s performance appraisals if it is continual. That’s not being a team player or and reflects badly on the company.
Changes or key points are not highlighted – When there are changes made or there is a particular sensitivity or exception it needs to be highlighted. Often there are changes to policies or procedures to accommodate a unique situation. Without explaining it properly to the next person you run the risk of it being “corrected.” Draw attention to it by noting it at the beginning of the communication so it does not get lost in the text.
There are many reasons for why employees do not communicated effectively with one another and everyone pays the price. Deal with issues as they arise, set standards, look for patterns and hold people accountable! Coaching and regular feedback can easily clear up most issues.