One of the main drivers of a company's success is effective teamwork. And when it comes to communication, bad communication can prevent your team from their true potential.
According to a survey by The Economist, 44% of respondents said that bad communication was the main cause of project delays. It impacts productivity, and miscommunication stresses the team, hurts employee morale, and lowers sales.
So how to improve communication?
Here are five signs to help you recognize the early warning signs of bad team communication, so you can improve communication on your team.
5 Signs of Bad Team Communication
Here are five signs of poor team communication:
1. Complaints Among Team Members
One of the early signs of poor team communication is when a team member complains to others about everything that goes on behind closed doors. Divisions will form and threaten the company's culture if this continues.
You can recognize when team members blame or defend their behaviour to others. Often, this is the cause of a sense of distrust within the team.
2. Far from Expectations
If you consistently find that the results you expect differ from what you receive, you may have a communication issue.
People must be clearer about what is required to perform well. Find a way to communicate each project's goals, desired outcomes, and timeline.
3. Trust Issues
The next sign of poor team communication is a team that doesn't trust each other, quickly resorts to blaming, avoids responsibility, or thinks ill of one another. Employees may become wary of other teams, viewing them as unreliable or difficult to work with.
Leaders or managers can foster trust by encouraging team members to spend more time with colleagues outside their immediate team. A rigid team structure with little or no interaction across teams often prevents employees from learning more about other teams and departments.
4. Duplication of Work
When communication is disrupted, employees can become confused and unsure about each team's responsibilities. This may result in duplication of work, leading to inefficient use of time.
Building a culture of open and clear communication can encourage knowledge sharing and prevent a repetition of tasks.
5. Absence of Conflict and Excessive Agreement
As team communication gets worse, employees often begin to withdraw. A lack of conflict in team meetings, where people frequently agree or remain silent, is one of the primary signs that something is amiss.
This often overlooked sign could be due to various factors:
- Fear of speaking up
- Loss of respect among co-workers
- Lack of interest or motivation in the topic of discussion
The Importance of Communication Skills for Your Team
Communication skills are important and increasingly important in all aspects of life, especially in the professional world. Good communication skills can make your colleagues feel comfortable and foster a work environment where ideas are heard and teamwork is smooth and seamless.
So, how can you improve your communication skills? Here are some suggestions:
1. Learn Public Speaking
Public speaking is one of the best ways to improve your communication skills. According to The Balance Careers, reluctance or fear of public speaking could hinder your career progress.
There's no need to feel embarrassed about speaking in public. Embrace these opportunities to gradually improve your communication skills.
2. Practice Active Listening
As reported by The Job Network, the better you listen, the better you will communicate. Pay close attention to your co-workers' conversations in the office. Ensure you understand their points clearly before responding.
When you’re in the virtual office environment or meeting online, you can pay attention to the gesture, tone, and what your co-worker’s talking about.
3. Master Basic Nonverbal Communication
One article from Entrepreneur found that nonverbal communication accounted for 55% of how an audience perceives a presenter. In other words, learning the basics of nonverbal communication is important to make others feel comfortable while you're speaking.
When addressing a group, maintain eye contact with your audience. Adopt an appropriate posture and avoid distracting actions, such as fidgeting.
4. Know Your Audience
Every audience has different perspectives and preferences, so these must be taken into account when communicating.
For example, if you need to speak to a client in front of your co-workers, it's important to understand your audience well to facilitate effective communication.
5. Expand Your Network
The broader your network, the more opportunities you have to improve your communication skills with various individuals both inside and outside the office.
As per The Balance Careers, these steps will enhance your career prospects in the future. Additionally, you can gain broader insights from the various people you meet.
Identifying signs of poor communication within a team is extremely important. Not only can it be detrimental to the company, but good communication within the team can also make your work feel more manageable and fulfilled.
You can try a project management tool using VirtualSpace to improve your communication within your team.
Furthermore, improving communication skills to become an effective communicator is necessary for ensuring smooth communication and teamwork. So it will help you achieve the desired results.