Make Your Team the Champions of Communication

Make Your Team the Champions of Communication

We’ve all been part of a team that just doesn’t gel.

Whether it is a group lab report, a class presentation, or planning one of your organization’s events, we’ve all had at least one bad experience where the team just didn’t work well together.

Think back to the last group work you’ve done that did not go well. Maybe you were the person on this team who did all of the work for the project, while the others were constantly on Facebook or didn’t even show up to the meeting. Maybe you were the person whose voice couldn’t be heard, because of other people dominating the conversation. Maybe you were the person who was just really having a bad day, which was why you showed up late to the meeting and couldn’t focus well.

group project 2

There are many reasons why group dynamics can be thrown off, but the number one reason is communication. In each of the situations above, effective communication would have solved the problem.

Effective communication allows a team member to see it through the eyes of other teammates. What are certain ways that great communication practices can be established on a team? Well, here are a few:

(1) Get to know each other. Start out with name, major, and hometown, and then daily get-to-know you activities. Maybe you’ll find out that someone is a statistics major, and would love to work on the data and results part of the project.

(2) Set up expectations on what you want accomplished. Create a shared a vision of success among the group members. This is an important practice during the “brainstorming” phase of the project.

(3) End each meeting knowing when you’ll meet next. Stay organized on the deadlines of your work, and constantly plan ahead for your next meeting.

(4) Be aware of each other’s leadership style. Be able to see it through your teammates’ eyes, by knowing their leadership style and what strengths and weaknesses their style brings. An easy way to do this is to use True Colors, a personal leadership style assessment… Here’s the link for that assessment

So again, thinking back to that failed group project that you were a part of… what would you have done differently now? How could you have built a team where everyone felt welcomed, connected, and engaged?

Matt Selba

Matt is a senior majoring in Statistics at the University of Delaware. Two words describe him really well: enthusiastic and positive! Through his involvement in the Blue Hen Leadership Program, he has mentored freshmen each year and spearheaded initiatives on and off of his campus to create engaged communities. His life goal is to share his passion for mathematics and helping others by becoming a high school teacher and college professor one day.

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