A manager depends on a work team's effective communication to realise its goals. Good communication means the team's members can share ideas without wasting time or sending confusing messages. Developing a survey with questions relevant to the team will help a manager assess how team members perceive group communication. A manager must review notes from recent team meetings and meetings with individuals and identify issues that appear to impede communication. Questions related to these issues are best to include on the survey.
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A team can have many issues that make communication difficult. A manager needs to format questions so team members can read them easily and focus on what needs improvement. For example, a manager can choose survey statements that members will answer according to a Likert scale. This is a ratings system in which each number indicates a different level of agreement. For a scale of 1 through 5, 1 might indicate the lowest level of agreement and 5 might indicate the highest level of agreement.
A team may have problems with tolerance, respect and accommodation of diversity. A manager can assess how team members feel included in the group. Sample statements may include: (1) Team members have respect for all team members; (2) Team members understand one another's strengths and weaknesses; and (3) Team members believe that everyone can make a valuable contribution to solving a problem.
A team might have trouble focusing on goals for every task or project. A manager can select survey questions related to how the team sets goals and plans how to achieve them. Examples are: (1) Team members focus on defining group goals; (2) Team members focus on the purpose of every group meeting; and (3) Team members alert other team members when goals will not be met. There might also be one or more statements about team members feeling dominated by some members in goal setting and other types of planning.
A manager might focus on whether the team can divide up work fairly among individuals and whether these members meet their deadlines. Examples of survey statements are: (1) The team leader provides advance notice of the meeting agenda; (2) Team members come to meetings prepared to discuss agenda items; (3) The team leaders keeps the meeting on task; (4) The team has a system of accountability that ensures group members will complete their work assignments on time; and (5) Team members give progress reports to the team at scheduled intervals.
At the end, include optional open-ended questions in which members can write detailed responses. Some questions should focus on each team member's responsibility for maintaining good communication. You might include questions (in statement form) such as these: (1) Team members are supportive of the communication of others; (2) Team members contribute to group discussions; and (3) Team members respect the right of other members to share diverse opinions.
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