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Obstacle #8 Poor Communication (Teamwork Tuesday)

{ 3 comments… add one }

About a month ago I asked the question on several LinkedIn Groups “What is so difficult about teamwork?” I received well over 200 responses. My intention was to rank each of them and then figure out ways we can create better teamwork.


Today we will discuss obstacle number Eight – “Poor Communication.”


  1. Lack of a competent leader (27)
  2. Lack of goals and goal alignment (26)
  3. Individuals focused on themselves and not the team (21)
  4. Lack of understanding of team members (20)
  5. Lack of clarity on team roles, and/or the purpose and vision of the team (15)
  6. Lack of focus on team rewards and appreciation (12)
  7. Lack of spending time together as a team (9)
  8. Poor communication (8)
  9. Lack of trust (7)
  10. Lack of accountability (6)

Poor communication on teams can occur for a lot of reasons and range from convoluted messages, lack of full participation by team members, leaders withholding information, lack of cascading key information and using the wrong vehicle for communication (e-mail as opposed the phone or face to face).

When communication on teams is poor the consequence will almost inevitably be lack of optimal execution. How can teams be expected to perform at a most favorable level if they aren’t aware or clear on the tasks, outcomes and expectations? How can teams be most effective if team members aren’t fully engaged and invested in the process, whatever it may be?

What are some of the things you have done on your teams to ensure communication is clear and effective?

Mike Rogers

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Leave a Comment

  • kare anderson September 22, 2009, 9:05 am

    In communication specificity leads to quicker understanding and trust – so vital for successful teams. Here’s six keys to cultivating thriving teams like the thousands launched during the fast-growing, “no drama” Obama campaign:
    1. Be specific about the top, actionable goal of the group.
    2. Identify what needs to be done to reach the goal, then recruit individuals who have the specific talents or other resources to get those tasks done.
    3. Approach each person by describing the goal, the specific way each one can help achieve it and why it would benefit that person; then describe the Sweet Spot of mutual benefit for all teammates to participate.
    4. Review above 3 items with everyone when first meeting together; ask for improvements in the goal and if others should be recruited to accomplish it; then agree on who should facilitate the group.
    5. Seek agreement on the Rules of Engagement by which your group will operate and on the timetable.
    6. When the goal is met, de-brief on what worked and what didn’t, then discuss other possible goals for which some or all team mates may want to work together again. Why not start now where you face a problem or an opportunity?

  • Mike Rogers September 22, 2009, 10:26 am

    Thanks Kare, you always have great comments! I particularly like your last one which is to debrief. I don’t think teams do this very often – that has been my experience while working with them. Teams need feedback on their performance and how to strengthen the process and teamwork. This is critical.
    I would add another as part of the debrief and though it doesn’t have much to do with communication it is vitally important. And that is to celebrate successes. Reward the team for achieving.
    – Mike

  • Cheap Jordans March 2, 2011, 1:22 am

    You have to believe in yourself. That’s the secret of success.


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