5 Signs Your Virtual Team Communication Is Dysfunctional
Let’s be honest: there is no single, correct, or “only” way to measure the collaboration of your team. Many have tried, some even published papers on this topic, but they also included a disclaimer that stated that “This isn’t a recommendation to use any particular tool but a selection that may be useful in thinking about collaboration.”
Experts also claim that attempting to measure collaboration using numbers is not the best way to go.
“To apply a metric, which after all is a generalized/standardized model used to make comparisons, is to deny the specifics of collaboration, and in so doing, deny collaboration as such.” -Jim Sniechowski, PhD
Simple: Get rid of the numbers and focus on where you are now. Then see what you can do to improve.
The five-stage route to virtual team communication
First, ensure that your team is working together. To reach the final level of communication success, collaboration, each team must reach five levels.
[Caption: The five levels in collaboration]
Let me elaborate on the levels:
Only when your team has reached the fifth degree, if they feel like they are in sync and have complete trust in one another, can you call them “for real” collaboration.
This sequence is not about “Is team cooperation good?”
It’s all about recognizing signs that something is not right. These five red flags can indicate that collaboration is not going smoothly as the manager might wish.
Five remote team collaboration red flags
Let’s take an example:
Imagine a situation in which a team must create a website for a client. The team consists of five members: a web developer, a graphic designer and two web developers. A project manager is also included.
Let’s assume that you are the project manager.
Each member of the team is a complete stranger, lives in different parts, and will likely never meet in person because work will be done remotely.
It’s the perfect place to raise…
1. Repetitive mistakes
Although the instructions were clear to the web designer as well as the web developer, the images on the website are not optimized and page loading times are longer than watching Netflix on dial-up. Both the designer and developer were reminded of project expectations.
The problem persists.
Poor virtual communication is often characterized by making mistakes.
Find the root cause of the problem and speak to them separately. (Usually, the person who claims there are no problems is the one causing it. Ask your team for their opinions on the problem and for suggestions to improve.
After getting feedback from your team, create an action plan that includes specific steps and present it to both parties. Your team’s reactions should be a good indicator of whether your solution is acceptable or enforceable.
2. Inadequacy of feedback
The website logo has been completed by the graphic designer and is now available for everyone to view. You can leave feedback within the first ten minute.
Within the hour, one member added their opinion. Even though everyone is online and has clearly seen the post )… everything, there was only one more member to voice their opinion.
In this instance, the lack of feedback could be one of two things:
The solution to the first case is simple: make it clear that feedback is welcome from all sources.
You might want to reorganize your team structure and composition in the second instance.
3. Managers, Constant PMs
Tattletales, tattletales all!
It is not uncommon to abuse the team’s project management software in order to send complaints about everything to the manager. But the concern is the difference between the PMs and the group chat of the team.
While team m