Poor communication is, in my view, the number one issue in all teams. It is particularly exacerbated in tech teams where there are higher numbers of analytical and amiable personality styles and where complex issues and technical solutions need to be explained and understood by all members of the team to some extent, including the non-technical ones.
Technical knowledge is power and things left un communicated can subconsciously shift the power to places you don’t realise it has gone to. As such, you can find the team or product being driven by a different set of goals to the businesses. We explored the issue of the ‘one voice syndrome’ previously which has far reaching effects on product development.
The common integrity and expertise values held by a lot of technical people can leave them reticent to raise where there has been a mistake or a project is running behind for fear of exposure and a perceived lack of credibility. Often not mentioning at all until it is exposed by a missed deadline which ironically is ultimately more credibility damaging – the fallout from which further cements their reticence to hand raise in the future.
Assumptions are so commonly made either through ignorance and sometimes petulant arrogance frankly. “I thought you knew exactly was the impact would be when I said I needed to update the component” and “well you should know what that means” being a few of my faves. Knowing what is not being said, when it is not being said is hard to do and takes years of experience and knowledge of the individuals you’re working with when attempted organically.
Using team coaching and parallel 121 interventions can help the team workshop together to work out what they all value and how that might play out in their decisions and behaviour sin the work place. It can create short-cut ‘labels’ for want of a better word that layer up to a common team lexicon that facilitates a group understanding. E.g. “we know when she goes quiet it’s because she’s hiding something that may make her look like a failure. She needs a private informal discussion around project specifics to tease out what is happening and to be reassured that she can trust that it won’t be publicised and she will have support to resolve it”.
The leader can’t do everything – equipping the whole team with the skills to support each other as individuals and cover each other’s blind spots frees up the leader to become more strategic and culture setting which is cyclically of benefit to the team and the business.
For more information on how a tailored programme from my team coaching partnership Dynamic Connections Coaching could help you and your team communicate better and succeed more, please get in touch.