As a project manager, how many times have you looked back on a project and wondered if things would have been different had your team communicated more openly and clearly with one another? Most often, lack of team communication isn't the result of any one individual's malicious behaviour. It's just a lack of transparency and communication amongst the core team members that doesn't allow a project to reach the potential it could otherwise. If you have vowed to never let the frustration of lack of communication get the better of you again, you need to start working on improving the basic connections within your team.
Here's why team communication can become difficult:
If seven members are working on a project, the details of the project need to be given to all seven members at the same time. You can't expect one member who has all the information to start work and the others to follow suit if they know nothing about what's going on. In order to make good and informed decisions, information needs to flow equally. In most cases, a disrupted flow of knowledge and facts is what makes team communication difficult.
If a team player has a valuable insight to offer, everyone in the team must listen to him with an open mind and not just for the sake of hearing him out. When you take time out to comprehend each other's thoughts, you'll find the flow of communication unhindered. On the other hand, if you brush others' contributions under the carpet, people will turn into silent spectators over time.
Good communication is only possible if everyone in the team is equally engaged in the project. Team leaders should ensure that they elicit feedback from all team players and not just the ones who have a lot to say all the time. When the information is made interesting and understandable, more team members are likely to engage in the proceedings. If members start yawning and looking at their phones, it's best to stop the meeting and recommence later.
Morale and enthusiasm are bound to dip at some point. It is upon the team leader to boost morale and encourage team members to go on, keeping up the momentum of communication. When the team leader is missing in action for some reason, team members are likely to scatter and stop work altogether.
Before a team can get comfortable working with one another, they need to establish a comfort level. They can go out for team lunches to get to know each other. Once the team members share great rapport, they are more likely to communicate more openly and transparently with one another.
The secret to a successful team project is excellent team communication. As a project manager, work on overcoming the above hurdles with your team members to elicit better communication.