Written By
Marissa Peretz

11.02.16

Team Communication: what masks do we still hide behind?

We know that team communication and the way teammates treat each other has a direct effect on individual and group productivity, which in turn contributes to a company’s bottom line. One of the best ways to treat colleagues fairly is to consistently practice clear, concise, and honest communication. However, life is never as easy or as clear cut as the latest leadership book, business article or case study might have you think. Teammates are not always functioning at 100%. To cope with this, people often hide behind masks that prevent us from communicating fully and producing our best work. What are some of the masks that we hide behind, and how can we overcome them to keep leading or contributing on a high level?

One of the most prevalent masks we hide behind in the tech industry but often avoid talking about is imposter syndrome. It is so common among tech employees that companies that attract a lot of highly intelligent employees like Google actively watch out for it. The first step to overcoming this is to admit it exists. Keep track of your wins so you do not forget what you have accomplished. Own your mistakes as well. Accountability and the ability to learn from your mistakes can earn genuine trust.

Another mask is complacency. Humans are highly adaptable. Therefore, it is easy for people to get into a career rut and become used to going into the same job day after day without acknowledging whether this particular position is still helping them achieve the logical next step in their career. The solution: create your own performance report. Review it every quarter and compare it to your personal long term career goal. If you are too comfortable at work, perhaps take on a challenging project where you can stretch your abilities and help the company in a more meaningful way.

The mask of false friendliness is perhaps the easiest mask for others to see through. It is a fact that you are not going to be best friends with everyone you work with. And relationships can change due to workplace politics, available projects to tackle, and an evolving company culture, particularly during periods of rapid growth. The best way to handle this is to increase your own self awareness, treat people the way you would want them to treat your best friend, and create quality work to build a mutual respect with teammates.