3 Ways To Communicate More Effectively With Your Team


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3 Ways To Communicate More Effectively With Your Team

  1. 1. “It’s Your Problem, So What Are You Going To Do About It” 3 Ways to Communicate More Effectively With Your Team “They just don’t get it. They can’t seem to see the big picture. They don’t want to make the effort to change their thinking. Why can’t I find team members who can simply take my ideas and direction and run with them?” Does this sound like things you have been (or are) constantly thinking? As a Project Manager or Team Leader, you undoubtedly feel frustrated and impatient when they’re asked to carry out your directives and they appear to not even understand the nature of the project. How do you fix this problem? Simple. By first recognizing and accepting that it might not be their problem. In fact, it’s probably yours. And it’s yours on two levels. If your team cannot get the job done, the blame ultimately falls on your shoulders. It is also your problem because you have chosen to assume that your team should naturally see things the way you see them. It would be great if they did. But no two people are alike. Why should yours be any different. Until you are ready to accept the somewhat humbling reality that your way of seeing things may not be the only way, your problem will persist. There are 3 tips to get through to your team more effectively. 1. Don’t make assumptions. All too often we assume the way we like to communicate is the way others like to as well. NOT TRUE! Instead of assuming you know, begin by observing how your team members communicate with other people. Do they tend to socialize before getting down to business, or are do they tend to be very direct. Observing will give you clues as to how your team prefers to communicate in a given situation. You can then adapt your management style to meet the needs of each individual member. Helping Global Teams Increase Their Productivity
  2. 2. 2. Confirm your understanding It is vital to understand why people work the way they do. We know that observing is not enough, so the next logical step is to ask them. How often do we ask our team members how they prefer to work? Hardly ever, in my experience. The next step is to confirm your understanding by asking, “Am I correct, is this how you would like to work.” I know what you must be thinking; this takes far too much time, probably time that you don’t have. The time you invest now, in talking to your team is well worth the effort. The long-term result will be increased productivity, improved staff morale and you just might get your project in on time and within budget. It is equally important for you as the project manager to let your team know how you like to work. “Speak up for your style.” (for a free article on more details on how to discover your communication style e-mail me at csookman@sympatico.ca) 3. Give them what they need to succeed. Give them what they need to succeed. People thrive in different types of environments. Some excel in a structured environment while others are motivated by recognition and reward. Some may even prefer a more challenging atmosphere. Understanding the environment they excel in will give you additional information on how to maximize your team. Knowing what makes your people tick is what effective communication is all about. It will help you maximize productivity, efficiency and workplace harmony while minimizing conflict, false assumptions and employee dissatisfaction. Realizing that a perceived problem with employees may in fact be a managerial problem is not something that you, as a manager, probably want to think too much about. You can, however, take comfort in the fact that things that cause friction, lack of productivity and an unhealthy working environment can be overcome. In fact, they can be made to work for you once you understand that differing opinions and contrary viewpoints are to be embraced rather than shunned. Helping Global Teams Increase Their Productivity
  3. 3. However, until a system is put into place that acknowledges and takes advantage of these differences they will not be harnessed in a powerful and positive way. They will simply continue to breed misunderstanding, conflict and unhappy outcomes. Behavioral assessment tools can help enormously in allowing you to see and understand how different individuals (including yourself) perceive and react to situations. The DiSC© system offers a powerful method of understanding personality types and determining why certain people act and react the way they do in given situations. It helps you understand your point for view. Which, in turn, allows you to understand those of your employees. The DiSC© system classifies individuals into four distinct personality types and reveals the strengths and weakness that surface when these unique elements interact. In doing so, the DiSC© method shows why conflicts are most likely to occur among different behavioral types and how to turn potentially tense situations into positive, productive ones. Let’s take a look at each of the four dimensions: The “D” or Dominant needs minimal direction, just be upfront about what is expected. When you give them a task allow them to decide the best way to get it done and if possible give them the lead role. Don’t bog them down with details, just give them the big picture and always be decisive. The “I” or Influence needs you to be friendly and to listen to their ideas and innovations. When giving them a task be clear about what you want and how you want it done. Remember spare the details. The “S” or Steadiness requires a stable environment with minimal amount of change. If change is required make sure they understand the reasons for the change. When giving such individuals a task, be sure to provide them with a structure and let them know you support them in their efforts. The “C” or Conscientiousness prefers a structured environment where they have time to analyze the data. When giving a C a task provide them with all the facts and allow them to work without interruptions. Helping Global Teams Increase Their Productivity
  4. 4. We know how to distinguish the four styles but your challenge is to do something with this knowledge. Granted, this is not easy. It takes time and a commitment from you. The first step is to assess your style, then identify the style of your team members and, most importantly, adapt your style to each individual member of your team. . You may have gone through an exercise like this before with less than stellar results. You embrace a new concept and implement it enthusiastically. For the first week it is refreshing because it’s novel. Soon, however, it becomes tedious. You may convince yourself it’s too time consuming to follow through. To make matters worse, you might stop because you don’t see the immediate payoff, so why continue? But there is a payoff, whether it is immediately tangible or not. It comes in the form of increased productivity, reduced conflict, improved staff moral and better client relationships. The key is to make the process continual. Try this: Write your name with your dominant hand. Now do the same thing with the other hand. How did the difference make you feel? Awkward? Childish? Uncomfortable? I bet it did. It’s the same thing with learning a new skill. When you start using a new skill you often feel uncomfortable and frustrated. It takes two months of everyday practice to feel comfortable with a new skill. In the beginning, expect that your staff to wonder what has gotten into you. Yet it will eventually become second nature to you and your staff. The long-term result will be a more productive and efficient work environment. Isn’t it worth the effort? In the end, people make your corporate clock tick. Knowing what makes your people tick is what DiSC© is all about. Helping Global Teams Increase Their Productivity