Wednesday, April 17, 2019

PMP Protein: Ensuring Effective Communication by Team Members and Middle Management

By Suresh K, PMP

Communication should both be effective and efficient. In any organization, a bulk of communication happen among team members and middle management. There are many areas that can be improved to have effective communication for team members and middle management in order to meet organizational objectives.

In this article, I’ll focus on few such areas where improvement can happen. 

1# Introvertedness
In any organization, there will be introverts, extroverts as well as ambiverts. However, it’s more complicated for introverts to process interactions and events. Introverts carefully attend to their internal thoughts and feelings at the same time. 

If the reporting supervisor of the team member is an extrovert, he or she may feel the communication gap when quick, spontaneous and confident decision-making is required by an introvert team member. If the reporting supervisor is an introvert, then the impact on productivity will be greater. In such cases, the team members should report to higher authorities in skip level meetings which are conducted periodically within the organization. 

It doesn’t mean being introvert is bad, however, improvement is necessary.

2# Pre-determined mindset 
A pre-determined mindset affects communication. Minimizing or avoiding predetermined mindset tends to increase internal communication encompassing both official and unofficial channels. This will also help the team members deliver effectively and productively. 

With a pre-determined mindset, either the line manager’s or team member’s communication becomes one-sided. This should be avoided, because communication is never one-sided. Also, the process of communication involves more than just words and communication is mostly nonverbal in nature.

While communicating, team members and middle management need to have presence of mind, too. Internal communication should be an optimistic approach to keep everyone informed and have a climate of openness, which leads to an increase in productivity.

3# Listening Skills
Listening involves interpretation and spontaneous analysis of manager work and/or administrative instructions. Listening requires proper feedback by team members in-line with the work targets.

Immediate supervisors are also equally responsible to practice listening while getting team members’ valuable work inputs and ideas. This keeps team members motivated with proactive approach leading to increased productivity.

Autocratic managers, on the other hand, many times communicate in one direction. They need to ensure more bidirectional communication, one-on-one meetings with team members and improvement in listening skills.

4# Wearing Supervisor’s Shoes for Objective Analysis
Team members when not convinced with the work instructions per self-analysis then they need to interpret keeping in view of reporting supervisor’s instructions aligning with the work targets, follow ground rules and work ethics for effective team communication.

5#Understanding Organization’s Vision, Mission and Goals
Team members and middle management should have broad awareness of organization’s vision, mission, and goals. These are essential to avoid biases in communication. Biases in communication have severe impact on its fidelity and hence effectiveness. 

6# Awareness of Different Organizational Work Cultures 
No organization operates independently on its own, rather it exists within the larger ecosystem of the enterprise. There will be suppliers, contractors, regulatory bodies and partnering organizations, with whom top and middle management as well as team members interact. Hence, they should have awareness of different organizational cultures for effective team work and effective communication.

7# Inherent Political Environment 
Politics is inevitable and it will happen in any organization. Politics when used for the betterment of projects leads to good outcomes. However, when the inherent political culture leads to biases, then communication become problematic and many times, this leads to pre-determined mindset and communication gaps. 

Middle management and team members should be politically aware and avoid such kind of biases.

In conclusion, I would say organizations should have mentor trainings and periodic counselling for both team members and management to ensure effective communication. 

Brief Profile
Manager – Mechanical (Projects)
Installation and Execution of Industrial Projects in Oil & Gas, Power Sector, Plant Commissioning.

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