How to Strengthen Team Communications

Last week, we walked through the 4 must-haves to streamline your business operations. 

Three of the four are hard systems tools for Project Management, Schedule Management, Inbox Management. Whewww, that’s a lot of managing going on, isn’t it?!?

The last recommendation of Team Communication might have caught you a bit off-guard, though. 

So I want to unpack that a bit this week because it’s simultaneously the simplest and most challenging part of running your business. 

It’s simple because now you’re aware of what to look for, where the gap might be, how to set-up your business to flourish.

And challenging because, well, “People, people, people,” as Brené Brown says. 

The core of communicating with your team is clarity and consistency. 

That’s right, the core of having a successful business, where you’re clear and consistent with your messaging and marketing so that you’re filling your client roster, is the exact same core for running a successful team. 

You want to make sure your directives to your team are clear and your notes and messages are happening regularly. 

Because I know so many of you love examples, let’s walk through one. 

Blair is your virtual assistant and you notice that she’s underperforming. 

When she schedules your social media each week, there are typos in the posts. And your newsletter seems to be going out two hours later than you’d like. Oh, and instead of hearing back when you send messages in Asana within 24 hours, she’s going MIA for days at a time. 

Sounds super frustrating, right?!?

The instinct might be to point the finger. Assume she’s isn’t a good fit. Believe that she’s intentionally screwing you over and trying to piss you off. 

Take a breath. Step away from the situation for a moment if you need to.

Then come back with clean energy around the situation and ask yourself: 

  • Have I actually communicated what I expect from Blair in her role as a VA on my team? Or are there still details in my head?
  • Has the project or task timeline or due dates been agreed upon by both of us?
  • Do I have a clear vision for what I want or am I really making it up as I go along? 

If you find that there’s some cleaning up to do in how you’ve delegated out work or that there’s room for interpretation on the expectations, have a conversation with Blair. 

Openly talk about any shortcomings on your part. Owning up to the part you played in the issues at hand speaks volumes about you as a leader and goes far to build connection with her.

If you go through the questions and can honestly say that you’ve been as clear as possible with the task goals, deliverables, and due dates and team expectations, then your next step is to have a conversation with Blair. 

You want to find out what’s going on with her, on a human level. Is there something going on in her personal life that has her preoccupied mentally? Has a new task been assigned to her that she doesn’t feel fully capable of doing? When you talk, you’re looking to connect with her, human to human. 

No matter what you find might be the reason for a team member’s subpar work or bothersome behavior, you need to talk to that person. 

This is the step where business owners frequently make the choice to NOT talk to the other person. Because it feels too squishy. And they don’t know what to say. What if the person lays out some pretty heavy stuff? Or blames me for what’s going on?  

The “what ifs” will get you every time. The trick is to remember that this person is a person, wanting to contribute, looking to connect, searching for fulfillment. 

Engage with them from that place. Start there. Remain open. Stay curious. 

It’s as easy and difficult as that. 

The more you do it, from challenging conversations to regular redirects, the skill gets built and ingrained in your everyday behaviors. 

If you want to take your knowledge of team communications even further, here’s two steps I recommend doing next:

1. Post below with what’s tripping you up around communicating with your team. What questions do you have? Where do you feel a gap might exist?

2. Check out these fabulous books on communicating on your team: 

  • Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, Kim Scott
  • Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts., by Brené Brown
  • The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too), Gretchen Rubin

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash


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