Miscommunication happens almost every day in a workplace. From a simple email interpreted wrong to an instruction being executed mistakenly. The cause of such mostly roots from miscommunication although the blame usually falls on that poor chap who did not get the full message from the beginning.
Communication is a big factor in managing a team. Communication is an art. It’s not just about sending the message, it’s also about making sure that the receiver fully understands the intended message.
Imagine you’re doing a project for a client and the requirements you receive are not exactly how the client wants it but how the person who took the requirements understood it. Come presentation time to the client, they get both surprised and frustrated because it seems that you did not understand their needs. You get to do unnecessary work of programming trying to redo all your work when it should have been done in the first place if only you got the correct requirements.
Effective communication is essential in every workplace. Miscommunication can lead to office conflicts, blaming on who did the wrong thing or where it all started and a lot more of negative issues.
Here are some examples of miscommunication:
A classic example. One understood the message other than how it’s supposed to be understood
Without listening to the instructions, one assumes he knows what is being talked about and that he does not need to listen to the whole thing resulting to doing the task but not how it’s intended to be done.
A bug came up from one of your teammate’s committed codes while you’re testing your project. The next time you run your project, it didn’t show up. Thinking it’s nothing you did not report it and continue to commit your codes with his. Come deployment time to the client, boom. You’re faced with the same bug. Guilt slowly kills you inside because you should’ve communicated about the bug and fix it on development stage.
There are a lot of examples of miscommunication but let’s proceed on how to communicate effectively.
So how can you communicate effectively to your team? Read below, my friend.
Cite an Experience Relevant to What You’re Discussing
Whenever I discuss a topic to my team whether it’s a memo or a weekly team performance review, I provide a scenario (most of the time, funny scenario) that will stick to their minds and have that associated with the topic. It doesn’t have to be your personal experience, it could be someone you know or from that TV series you’re watching. This helps them remember better the topic especially during boring meetings or discussions, liven it up with jokes (appropriate ones, okay?)
Develop Your Soft and People’s Skills
People work well when they’re comfortable with who they work with. Know their interests and if it’s somehow in your alley, talk to them about it. That will establish a common ground and make them feel comfortable asking you questions if they need clarifications with the tasks you assign them with instead of being afraid to ask you that might lead to assumption and misinterpretation.
Get Your Feet Wet (not literally)
Instead of discussing thoroughly the project, it’s better to initiate the project yourself. If you can’t write the codes, at least give the flow so your team can understand fully. Once the flow is clear, non-stop programming begins. I’ve written about how obtaining in-depth knowledge helps a project manager here:
Professionally, that is. If the team did a good job or have finished a project on or before a deadline, treat them out. This is one of the best ways to getting to know your team well. Use that information the next time you speak to them about tasks or performance reviews.
Ask For Opinions
Don’t just assign tasks and leave it like that. Aside from asking them if they have questions, ask them about their opinions as well. They may have a better way to address a task. As much as you want to, you can’t know everything. You just can’t. If you let them know that they’re being heard, they will not shy from advising you of ideas to better the team or in whole, the company.
The bottom line is let it be a two-way street. Say your piece, and let them say theirs. Check whether they fully understood what’s being asked of them before proceeding. If everyone is on the same page, it makes working a whole lot better and easier regardless of the workload.