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Most Common Team Communication Problems and Tips on How to Solve Them

Communication as the Key Element Within a Successful Team

In an ideal workplace, you would have no issues among your team members and work would continue without ever being interrupted. Unfortunately, these kinds of environments are best left to daydreams and wishful thinking. It's perfectly normal to encounter communication issues between coworkers and managers alike. Instead of hoping the problem would go away on its own, try to be proactive and find the right solution to combat these problems. Here are some ways you can strive to fix these issues.

Be open to feedback.

Communication is the most important aspect of a functional work environment. You need to remember that communication is a two-way street. Having your employees and coworkers on the same page is a good step towards fixing any issue. Start by asking members of your team what they think of decisions before making them.

Constructive criticism is a term that is thrown around a lot in business but very few people truly understand what it means. Constructive criticism is supposed to help your fellow team members with achieving their goals. It’s important to make this clear to anyone that takes criticism too personally. On the other hand, it’s just as important to teach fellow team members how to criticize with a purpose. A simple “fix this” doesn’t achieve much in the grand scheme of a project. The good news is that this is a learning process, which is why making any kind of progress is going to be worth the trouble.

Give purpose to breaks.

Everyone needs a breather every once in a while. Even the most dedicated worker has to regenerate focus once they’ve put in their all. Coffee and smoke breaks can do wonders for productivity. When done together, this activity can bolster team morale and strengthen the bond between team members. It allows everyone to interact in an informal setting while also getting ready to jump back into the project.

Unfortunately, not everyone treats breaks in the same way. Some managers feel that breaks should be kept to a strict minimum in order to maximize efficiency. This doesn’t have the intended effect and it can lead to worker burnout. Workers, on the other hand, don’t make the most out of their lunch and smoke breaks. Some will avoid interacting with their fellow team members and spend their breaks in solitude. There’s nothing wrong with this, but some form of communication could lead to an influx of new ideas which could be beneficial to every party involved.

Help with conflict resolution.

No matter how well acquainted your team members are, conflicts and arguments are bound to happen eventually. There might be a dispute over how to operate certain projects or how to allocate finances. One thing is certain – conflicts are unavoidable. Trying to avoid conflicts isn’t going to do you much good. It would be much more effective to tackle them head on and get closer to solving the issues at hand.

Not everyone is well adjusted toward resolving conflicts. Much like patience, it's a skill that requires constant practice. Sometimes the issue at hand might be a little bit too divisive for your team. This can cause problems with ongoing projects and it can stall work. The good news is that you don't have to be alone in these disputes. During major conflicts, businesses often hire effective corporate mediators to act as an unbiased third party. This way, no one can claim that their side of the story wasn’t taken into account in the end result. 

Understand Diversity Issues

Having a diverse team of many ethnicities and nationalities is an important part of doing good business. Having a wide array of different perspectives and backgrounds can allow you to better understand some situations and projects. Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to diversity. You need to take into account differences in culture and language.

One of the many hurdles you will encounter are differences in communication between members of your team. Instead of pointing fingers it would be much more useful to stay level-headed in these situations. For starters, you have to recognize that there is a problem in the first place. There's no use sweeping it under the rug. Make it a point to address these issues and help each other find the best kind of solution to fix them.

Conclusion

A great majority of workplaces don't have the most open communication between team members. This is very unfortunate for anyone that works there, which includes the team leaders. Misunderstandings lead to arguments and arguments lead to missed deadlines. As a team leader, it's something you have to work to improve. It's a monumental task heading a group of individuals that all have their own thought processes, but it's not impossible. With a little understanding and a lot of patience, anyone can achieve this goal and create a business environment worth working in. 

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