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Team Building requires Team Communication!

  1. Ineffective communication can produce undue stress and tension among team members, which lowers both moral and productivity that can lead to loss of time and money. Effective teams work through breakdowns in communications by developing and promoting open and clear communication among its team members.

The three key elements to effective project communications are relevance, responsiveness, and occurrence.

  1. Relevant communication is focused, concise, and task-oriented.
  2. Responsive communication involves the willingness to gather information from others, active listening, and building on ideas and views from others.
  3. Occurrence is established communication methods and timely responses. Procrastinating upon needed communication among team members can only cause issues to fester and lead to a breakdown of the team and its performance.

Good team discussions depend on how well team members are able to communicate with each other. By understanding others and conveying your thoughts you will help breakdown communication barriers. A guideline for practicing open communications are:

  • Be willing to express yourself and your views fully.
  • Avoid becoming angry or annoyed when another person’s view differs from yours.
  • Be willing to change your views as new information becomes available.
  • Think win-win by seeking to find common ground on issues.
  • Practice pro-active listening.

Pro-active listening is exploring others ideas rather than debating their ideas. There are five steps in practicing pro-active listening:

  • Encourage the person to communicate their ideas, thoughts, and views.
  • Observe and listen to what the other person thinks, feels, intends and does.
  • Check out what the other said by using open-ended questions.
  • Acknowledge by paraphrasing and playing back what the other said with out judgment or problem solving.
  • Interpret what they said and watch and listen, or ask for verification, that you correctly interpreted their ideas, thoughts, and views.

Some roadblocks to watch out for are:

  • Judging a person idea by criticizing, name calling, diagnosing.
  • Sending solutions by ordering, ultimatums, threatening, moralizing, advising, or excessive and inappropriate questions.
  • Avoiding the other’s persons concerns by diverting, using logical arguments, or reassuring.
  • “Silent treatment” avoiding calls, delayed responses, avoiding uncomfortable issues.

Weekly team meetings are an effective communication method to discuss project issues. All the stakeholders need to be in attendance and the meeting needs to be organized to be effective. The meeting should have a designated facilitator that keeps the meeting on time, facilitates open discussions so that everyone is heard, and records decisions made in the meeting. Everyone on the team is busy and most meetings can be held effectively within an hour. The meeting agenda should be sent out prior to the meetings and meeting minutes with assigned action items should promptly follow all meetings. In a meeting it is easy to misinterpret what was said and a formal recording will allow everyone to read the same interpretations thus saving the project time and money. A method needs to be in place to allow corrections to be made to the minutes if there is a discrepancy in what was recorded.

Communication between team members has never been so easy and quick. Email, cell phones, the internet, and tablets all allow projects to be managed 24 – 7. Some caution comes with using these new technologies that allows instant communications. With the loss of personal contact we lose the ability to observe and check the sender’s body language. Email can be hastily written and can communicate wrong intentions when not enough time is allowed for the sender or receiver to view the communications or problem in full perspective. Email can be quickly forwarded to others without the senders knowledge, so make sure what you write is intended for anyone’s eyes. It is important that you think first and make sure you are not emotional over the issue and it is recommended to clarify any issues by calling first before writing.

Using the techniques above will ensure a solid high producing team that is fun and rewarding. Feel free to share your comments and suggestions!

Lee Clark
Lee Clark

As the CEO and co-founder of PayCrew, Lee Clark is passionate about the people in the field, because he understands the importance of trust between a company and its people. As a construction business owner, he saw first-hand how attracting and retaining skilled people form the foundation of a company’s success.

Lee has a passion for measuring daily performance in the construction industry and is also a regular contributor at Concrete Construction.