Ashleigh Johnston, Consultant

As much as we focus on how to prepare a message for the public or focus on how to communicate outside of our business, it is just as important to take great care with communication within your organization. Too often inter-office communication suffers because we are so outwardly focused on pleasing the client and perfecting the strategy we have created for the media and the public. However, one can’t happen successfully without the other.

Here are my top 3 suggestions for improving teamwork and communication in the office:

  1. Start with a clear objective. What are you trying to accomplish overall? What little goals along the way need to be set in order to achieve the larger goal? It may seem like common sense but that’s the mistake that is made. People take for granted that everyone involved knows what the end-game is. This basic step should lead to an open discussion on what needs to happen in order to accomplish the goal. Once these objectives are identified, then the roles and responsibilities start to fall into place.
  2. Make sure everyone’s roles are clearly defined: Does everyone know what they are supposed to be doing? Are they clear on the tasks they need to accomplish? Time is wasted on people sitting around waiting to be directed, or trying to figure out who was supposed to take care of what after a project has begun. By beginning a project with this step, each person has a clear idea of what their role is and what responsibilities fall within that role. Group leaders will not have to worry that someone is doing too much or too little, or that a task may fall through the cracks because it wasn’t properly designated.
  3. Trust in your teammates to get the job done. If the goals are set, the roles are defined and everyone knows what they need to do to help get the job done, it is up to everyone to trust each other that your colleague’s are capable enough to make it happen. Micro-managing insinuates that you don’t believe they can handle their role. This, however, is different than offering help if you end up having some free time. While schedules may not always allow for regular check-in meetings this is the easiest way to make sure people are on-track. Each person should come to the meeting being able to answer what they have accomplished and what they will accomplish before the next meeting. This allows everyone to hold themselves accountable by having to report that they are in fact on task.

Teamwork and communication is not easy because it is taken for granted. People believe that because they talk to their colleagues, and work on the same projects that that equals teamwork. It’s something that requires effort, patience and constant attention. However, it will result in a higher success rate, less frustration and greater satisfaction both from the team that worked on the project and the client.