"They just don't get it. They can't seem to see the big picture. They don't want to make the effort to change their thinking. Why can't I find team members who can simply take my ideas and direction and run with them?"
Does this sound like things you have been (or are) constantly thinking? As a Project Manager or Team Leader, you undoubtedly feel frustrated and impatient when their asked to carry out your directives and they appear to not even understand the nature of the project. How do you fix this problem? Simple. By first recognizing and accepting that it might not be their problem.
In fact, it's probably yours.
And it's yours on two levels.
If your team cannot get the job done, the blame ultimately falls on your shoulders. It is also your problem because you have chosen to assume that your team should naturally see things the way you see them. It would be great if they did. But no two people are alike. Why should yours be any different. Until you are ready to accept the somewhat humbling reality that your way of seeing things may not be the only way, your problem will persist.
There are 3 tips to get through to your team more effectively.
1. Don't make assumptions.
All too often we assume the way we like to communicate is the way others like to as well. NOT TRUE! Instead of assuming you know, begin by observing how your team members communicate with other people. Do they tend to socialize before getting down to business, or are do they tend to be very direct. Observing will give you clues as to how your team prefers to communicate in a given situation. You can then adapt your management style to meet the needs of each individual member.
2. Confirm your understanding
It is vital to understand why people work the way they do. We know that observing is not enough, so the next logical step is to ask them. How often do we ask our team members how they prefer to work? Hardly ever, in my experience. The next step is to confirm your understanding by asking, "Am I correct, is this how you would like to work." I know what you must be thinking; this takes far too much time, probably time that you don't have. The time you invest now, in talking to your team is well worth the effort. The long-term result will be increased productivity, improved staff morale and you just might get your project in on time and within budget. It is equally important for you as the project manager to let your team know how you like to work. Speak up for your style.
3. Give them what they need to succeed.
Give them what they need to succeed. People thrive in different types of environments. Some excel in a structured environment while others are motivated by recognition and reward. Some may even prefer a more challenging atmosphere. Understanding the environment they excel in will give you additional information on how to maximize your team.
Knowing what makes your people tick is what effective communication is all about. It will help you maximize productivity, efficiency and workplace harmony while minimizing conflict, false assumptions and employee dissatisfaction.
Claire Sookman's Virtual Team Builders specializes in Helping global teams increase their productivity. These training sessions demonstrate how to harness the power of the latest in collaborative and meeting technology in an engaging, interactive and easy to understand way. Your geographically diverse team players are shown how to bridge the distances and work together in a unique, cutting-edge, results-oriented manner. Distance is no longer a barrier to communication thanks to the technology that can be harnessed by any company. Virtual Team Builders training solutions are practical, proven and cost-effective.
Claire Sookman can be reached at (416)398-5160 or by email.