How to Effectively Communicate with Your Team
Does your team know exactly how to communicate with you? Your preferences, how frequently, and what method – text, email, phone, project management, etc? Today we are covering how to effectively communicate with your team. As someone who has 50 plus employees in both of my businesses, imagine if people didn’t know how to communicate or what was expected. Even if only half of them reached out as little as 1 time per week, in their mind it was nothing, but to me, it was on average 3-4 times per day I was getting interrupted by my team. One day I was sitting at lunch with a friend and her phone was making all sorts of noises, dings, rings, and vibrating, so much so that I almost said, “Why don't I let you get back to work?” The problem was she never left work. Her team needed her, but she didn't realize that she had trained them to need her and communicate with her whenever they wanted. If I went to lunch with you, my phone would probably be in my purse and you would never see me look at it. Why? Because no one needs me that badly during that hour. There is nothing that big of an emergency or that has that kind of urgency! We have an office manager that has been with us for about 7 or 8 years. When we hired her, the general manager and I were training her that if there was ever an emergency, she could call us. I remember her saying she had worked at a dentist office and understood a dental emergency, but was really struggling with what an emergency would look like for a dance studio. We had been answering emergency phone calls for years and it took an outsider to come in and show us there are rarely ever emergency phone calls! Let's talk about some different ways I effectively communicate with my team:
- Platform – texts, emails, or phone call systems are not as efficient as a project management tool.
- Text – you’re using 2 thumbs versus all your fingers. It doesn’t make sense for anyone to believe they can text faster than type.
- Phone – phone tag is usually inevitable. You call, leave a message to call you back, and it turns into a rambling six-minute phone call. This could have easily been a simple assignment inside of your project management board.
- Email – email occupies 23% of the average employee’s workday and that average employee checks his or her email 36 times an hour. Email is so full of distractions.
- Voxer – I do like and use Voxer, however, I do not like to assign or get assigned something there because I've seen balls get dropped. Voxer is an audio app that we use to clearly explain something without having to set up a meeting or phone call. We typically assign something in Monday.com and Vox the specifics. It's been assigned and no one will forget. Voxer can also be a place where people ramble. Sometimes a three-minute Vox can be something I could have written in 10 words.
- Project Management Software – I highly recommend a project management software to help you stay out of your email inbox or off your phone and stay productive. We’ve been using Monday.com for a few years and haven’t found anything that comes close. It even has a keyword search that enables me to easily find what I'm looking for.
- How often – establish urgency boundaries
- We have a rule that if something is urgent and it cannot wait until the next time I check Monday.com, they can text me.
- If the text and it is clearly not urgent, I will respond with, “Please put this in Monday.com and tag me.”
- If I agree it is urgent, I will respond or thank them for letting me know.
- You get what you tolerate. If you respond to every non-urgent matter, it will keep happening.
- Make sure you go into your project management tool consistently and that your team knows when that will happen. I check once at 11:45 a.m. and a second check at 3 p.m.
- I have a Google calendar reminder to check Monday.com in the a.m. and p.m.
- If I clear my Monday.com inbox at 11:45 a.m. and don't check it again until 3:00 p.m., it's rare that something couldn’t wait three hours.
- It trains people to plan ahead and not be last-minute about tasks and requests.
Giving Your Team Goals Versus Tasks
I am so embarrassed to admit this but I used to just hand out tasks and keep the goals to myself. It never dawned on me to share the big picture! It sounds crazy to me now, but when you first hire you just outsource a few tasks to help get things off your plate. Before you know it, you've hired a 2nd person and if you aren’t careful you just create task “rabbits” who don't know the real big picture. Now, the leadership team and I created our annual and 90-day goals together and from there we create 30-day projects. When everyone can see what they are aiming for, they will realize what is important and what isn't. We need to equip our team with the ability to prioritize and shoot for the same goals. I want to break down what a typical week looks like on our team and the best way we have found to stay organized: Monday Meetings 9 a.m. – leadership 30 minutes – head of departments discussing our 30-day goals and what needs to happen this week to stay on track 9:30 a.m. – the entire team – typically 45 minutes 10:15 a.m. – break out rooms – growth team and customer success team -I am in the growth team break out discussing the podcast with my social media team While we are in those meetings, our Monday.com is open and screen shared so everyone can see exactly what is on their to-do list. If you missed our meeting you could watch the recorded video, but you could also look at Monday.com and see everything. After this Monday meeting, we are working out of Monday.com for the rest of the week. As of now, we have daily community coach huddles and will eventually start daily team huddles.
Prior to the Monday team meeting, we have everyone fill out their week’s tasks on one collective board. We know who owns a task by their picture next to it. By the end of the week, they will either check it “done” or “not done” and any unfinished tasks will be renewed and put on the next week. We don't drag the unfinished assignment to the next week because we want to see who is getting done and when and who needs more help with setting realistic goals. We want to train our team to follow through on their committed tasks and not push it to the next week. The tasks on this weekly board are not recurring tasks. For example, our social media manager does not have a post on Instagram because it's something specific to this week. She might say, “Start workshop promotions,” as one of her weekly tasks. Besides our weekly board, we have boards for each of our programs. Foot Traffic Formula and Powerhouse both have development boards. Inside these boards is where we work to make the program better including every positive or negative comment. We hold a monthly team meeting for each of these programs. We are screen sharing the boards while the meeting is happening so nothing is lost.
How to train yourself to use a tool you haven't been using
- Calendar Reminders – I have two recurring check-ins on my Google calendar to remind me twice a day to check both Monday.com and Voxer and ensure that I get my team what they need.
- Train the Team – if the team Voxers or emails me while we are training on new software, I will respond with, “please tag me on Monday.com” or, “Thank you, can you please send that over to Monday.com”. Continue to reinforce the behavior of using the new software.
Inside of The Content Machine, our $27 program, it shows you some of our Monday.com boards when it comes to social media – even if you don't have Monday.com, you can view it for free. However, you will likely want to consider it when you see how streamlined it is –