Pretty sure we all can relate to this.
It could be that time in your uni days where you had to face dreadful freeloaders, excuse givers, procrastinators and no-show team mates for supposed ‘team assignments’. What’s worse is that you always seem to end up as the team leader because you’re the most reliable and responsible one. And of course, you would take the biggest chunk of work since your no-good team mates are no where near as trustable.
Not to mention you also seem to be the ONLY one stressing about deadlines and good grades. Let’s admit it, team projects are degrading and demotivating when you just don’t gel in with the rest of the group.
Yes honey, we hear you.
But brace yourselves my fresh graduate peeps, this nightmare isn’t about to end by the end of the semester. Work group projects are much worse when you don’t know how to handle your team.
To make sure that your team in in sync, be aware of these signs that your team may have a communication problem:
You Don’t Have The Same Priorities
In ensuring every team member’s efforts flowing in a single direction, everybody in the team needs a clear understanding of that particular direction. During group discussions, it is absolutely imperative that you address the goal and how the team will work towards it, CLEARLY. Draw them out if you have to! Just make sure that everyone knows everything that’s going on. Don’t leave anyone out!
When project managers fail to communicate clearly and concisely, the team will come up with various interpretations that most likely not match with what you have communicated. It happens a lot especially in a well-diversified team. Just imagine, speaking in duck to a team of chicken speakers (not being racist here but this is the reality!)
Therefore, to ensure that your team mates get the gist of what you’ve been discussing, ask them again to see whether their answers can match with yours.
End Result Is Not What You Envisioned
There are 2 reasons as to why this can happen:
1. You didn’t do your part well enough to make sure that the person in charge of this task has a complete understanding on how the end result should be like.
2. You most probably didn’t spend enough time going through the finer details of the project.
For example, you’re in charge for a public social event and you need to create a website. The only take away for the person you delegated the task to was:
‘the website has to look friendly, needs elements of fun but for paying adults only’
Such information is not sufficient enough to build a fully working website, you should know better. With such a brief statement of what the website would be, it would most certainly turn out as ‘brief and simple’ as well. Therefore, don’t expect too much from the end product even though it is the staff’s job to ‘surprise’ you.
How would you expect him to come up with something great when you didn’t give enough insight? He can’t read your mind.
Fail To Meet Deadlines
This should be the most obvious, reddest, loudest warning sign telling you that your team has communication issues. When your team fails to meet important deadlines, it signifies that they do not understand the importance of submitting their work on time, or have misunderstood the deadline, or just have no responsibility over their task,
The Managers Themselves Are Procrastinators
that don’t give a shit about deadlines, due dates or have a sense of urgency. How do you expect your team to submit their work on time if you yourself are slacking off? Remember, the things you do and say resonate with the team. They rely on your push.
A lot of cases with missing deadlines end up with someone getting the blame for it and it will usually never be the leader. Unless the leader is the type that takes serious pride and ownership over his team, then he / she would most likely take the responsibility for it. However, not everybody likes ‘taking the bullet’ for the team, especially when it comes to cases like this. When the project manager starts pointing fingers, the rest of the team will start pointing fingers too.
Lack Of Trust
This is quite typical with managers who have trust issues and fail to delegate work properly. And also, due to previous unfortunate events which resulted in conflict, there’s no more trust within the team. The problem with not delegating work properly is that the team will be left hanging, clueless and unproductive. They won’t know what to do because they don’t know what’s going on.
And when the higher ups in management do ask about the project, they wouldn’t know what to say! Your team will definitely get a bad reputation. This will not only put your team at stake, it’ll put the trust they have in you as team leader at stake too. Your team will slowly dysfunction until one day they’d decide to call it quits on you and on each other.
Teams that are too comfortable or have worked with each other for too long tend to go too far with constructive criticism. When giving constructive criticism, the aim is to improve the other person by presenting comments and useful suggestions and advice. But if you add sarcasm and malice, it can have a chance to turn out mean and hurtful.
Instead of having a fruitful meeting by the end of the day, all you get is an argument that builds up anger and destroys team morale. Tolerance, respect, good communication, the team should be reminded the boundaries of professionalism.