Deep Dive: Team Communication Problems
Is your team in sync? Or trust is missing?
Working in teams brings joy but also hiccups.
People have different styles. One talks a lot, and the other prefers working alone. Team meetings could sometimes be emails, and let’s not even talk about canceled one-to-ones.
But when you cook your team communication well, it pleases everyone with great taste. No more ‘if only’ or ‘this could be better’. In the ideal world, teammates can talk together openly, say what they think, and try to understand each other.
Yet, this is often just wishful thinking. In reality, you deal with confusion, passive behavior, ignorance, and conflicts.
Can teams communicate better? Absolutely. Let’s navigate common team communication troubles and their impact on trust.
Situations when you have communication troubles in your team
Hold a silent fortress
Over promise, but under deliver
Search a victim
Struggle with feedback
How to build team trust
1. Team trust
If you trust someone, you believe they are trustworthy and won’t harm you. You feel things are safe and reliable.
What do you feel when you work? Safe and comfortable? Do you respect your coworkers? Trust in teams works like glue. It probably makes you more confident when you know someone has your back.
“Team trust correlates with a higher emotional bonding among team members, which subsequently reduces dropouts (Colquitt, Scott, & LePine, 2007).” - Sciencedirect
Work could be a very different place if you have or lack team trust.
When you build a team, run a brainstorming exercise to find out what trust means for different members. Agree as a team on specific values that fuel trust.
TIP: One team meeting should be dedicated to defining trust. Give a team sticky notes, and let them write down what trust means to them. Then gather common ideas on a board, and agree on what is critical for your team.
Teams that lack trust waste inordinate amounts of time and energy managing their behaviors and interactions within the group. They tend to dread team meetings and are reluctant to take risks in asking for or offering assistance to others. - Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team)
Members of trust-filled teams:
Ask questions and ask for help
Are not afraid of idea conflicts
Accept and provide feedback to each other
Admit mistakes and make learning out of them
Give each other the benefit of the doubt rather than negative assumptions
Focus on shared goals and not office politics
Like hanging out together
Are your team members comfortable with these interactions? If not, the cost could be high. Communication problems cost trust. H
2. Situations when you know you may have communication troubles in your team
Communication will always be difficult. Yet, some typical situations happen regularly in each team. When leaders read them well, they know what to look for and how to fix them.
How about you? Have you ever experienced these?
a. Hold a silent fortress
You sit in a team meeting, and your boss announces new changes. They are disruptive and uncomfortable. Yet, while people look upset, there is dead silence in the room. No one speaks up.
When communication is stirred into: “It is what it is and we can’t do anything about it." Team members do not feel allowed to express their opinions or feelings. It's like holding a fortress in silence.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial