How many times have you left a meeting wondering why your to-do list seems so much longer after talking to your team? Shouldn’t the team take work off of you? Wasn’t that why you hired them in the first place?
You are not alone. Managing a team efficiently can be a real challenge for business owners, no matter how big or small the business is. Yet, we all know that having a dysfunctional and unproductive team is not only stressful, but it costs you time and ultimately money.
Fortunately, team communication done right has the real potential to take hours off your plate and empower team members to not only tick tasks off the list but co-create with you.
So, what can you do to communicate more efficiently with your team today?
TIME SAVING STRATEGY: COMMUNICATING THE COST OF INTERRUPTION
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have shown that it takes on average 23 minutes to fully get back into the swing of things if there is an interruption that is not related to the current task.
Consider, how many times are you interrupted in a day by emails, texts, calls, client needs, and team questions? An average of 10? If so, that would mean losing about 4 hours of work in one day and 20 hours in a work week...
If one of the goals is to save hours per week, educating your team on the cost of interruptions and rewire your company culture to ensure that they are eliminated should be step one. The team needs to understand that even though phoning the boss to ask a quick question might be the fastest solution for them, it is not the best solution for the business.
Instead of only considering their role in the equation, the team needs to learn how to assess the urgency of a question or problem and act accordingly.
As a leader, the easiest way to ensure this in your team is to utilize a project management tool such as Asana or Trello, in which a team member is able to create a task for their question, tag you in it, and set a date for when it needs to be answered by. These types of tasks can immediately sync with your calendar and phone, and then you can choose to dedicate 30 minutes to an hour per day responding to them, distraction-free!
TEAM COMMUNICATION: CREATING A TEAM-WIDE FAQ DOCUMENT
Most CEOs find themselves answering the same 5-7 inquiries throughout any given week... A great way to prevent the same questions from arising repeatedly is to store all frequently asked questions in one central document and share it with the team. This strategy allows team members get the clarity they need when first joining the team, a new project starts, or a new client gets onboarded. The FAQ document is available to provide coherence around the various departments and team members, and what each of them need to know and do in order to be successful at their jobs. This team communication strategy eliminates hours of playing catch-up in making sure everyone is on the same page and avoids anything getting left behind.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS: CRACKING THE CODE
With a growing team and several channels to communicate at our disposal (phone, email, Slack, in person), communication can easily feel overwhelming. Setting up a clear communication routine for you to talk to your team helps prevent miscommunication, boosts efficiency, and keeps standards high.
The first step is to decide how you prefer to communicate with others based on the urgency of any given situation so that the level of urgency triggers how the team deals with the problem.
Here is a simple way to approach your communication structure for you to start implementing with your team:
If the task needs to get done or reviewed but it isn’t urgent, create a task in Asana and tag the relevant team member.
If the task is urgent but not critical, send an email and set a 24-hour deadline notice in the headline.
If the task is on fire (e.g. a client or large sum of money is about to be lost), pick up the phone!
Communicating this way means that you will no longer be missing out on the most relevant information even when are not able to attend a meeting or telephone conference - the standards have been set into place to make sure you are updated on all relevant areas.
Efficiency comes with making the best decisions, so use these strategies to set your team up for the success you and your business deserve. Don’t postpone having efficient team communication because you are busy with seemingly more urgent tasks… Knowing how to do team communication right should be on top of every CEO’s agenda as it will have immediate effects on the business as a whole.
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