Last Thursday, we hosted our second virtual consultant meeting on Team Communication: what is it, and how do we improve it? A huge thank you to our panelists, Greg Dudziak, IT Infrastructure & Ops PM at Life Time Inc., Dawn Cooper, Agile Leadership, Sr. Scrum Master at TCF Bank, and Heather Helm, Product Owner at OptumRx for sharing their knowledge on team communication with the group. A huge thank you to everyone who joined as well! 

Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our consultants and a summary of what was discussed. 

What is working and not working well with the way your teams are communicating? 

The most common way organizations are communicating now is through daily meetings, stand-ups, alignment meetings, etc. It’s important, to be honest in those meetings about where you are at with your work progress. Also, if you don’t know something, it’s okay to ask. Especially while working remotely, leaders are coming forward with an effective communication channel for their team. What has not been working well with teams for communication is that some have too many different communication channels. Communication can also be difficult when some of the team is in a different country in a different time zone. 

How do you follow up for accountability on action items within your teams/meetings? 

To follow up on action items within your team, it’s a good idea to have a weekly check-in with each person on that team. Sometimes team members are more likely to speak about things when it’s just one on one. Leaders should have a do, doing, and done system within their team as well.  

How do you ensure your team’s meetings are effective? 

The panelists are more used to in-person meetings while sitting in a conference room because they found that most effective. Now, for their meetings, they make sure they have an agenda to follow, especially while virtual. Some add a few extra minutes to their calendar invite to have some small talk before the meeting starts. They use time checks during the meeting to stay on track and add any information the team might need for the meeting in the calendar invite.  

How do you and your team resolve conflict? 

During this virtual time, the panelist said that they haven’t had a lot of conflict due to their team being more compassionate during these times. Some conflict they may have experienced before is people talking over each other in meetings and having some of their team in other countries. 

Now that we’re in an entirely virtual environment, what can we do to make up for the loss of hallway interactions?  

It’s important during this time to set up those check-ins with your team and being sure you have your video on. It makes the meeting more personal and gives you the closest thing to face to face interactions. The panelists are using this time to get to know each other on a more personal level. 

Does your team/organization utilize any personality tests to help understand communication styles? 

Some companies use tests like DISC profiles and different strength finders. They may help team members understand why they are communicating the way that they are. These tests can also help the team get to know each other well 

Each panelist agreed that communication is key within a team. When you assume good intent about the others on your team, the team can work better together. If you were unable to join, you can view the full session here.