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9 Red Flags That Indicate Your Internal Communications Team is Dysfunctional

Effective internal communication is critical for any successful organization. It’s the key ingredient that binds teams, aligns goals, and ensures everyone is on the same page. But what happens when that communication team sputters and misfires? In this post I share subtle signs that your internal communications (IC) team might be dysfunctional and explore ways to steer it back on track.

1.       Designs Over Dialogue

If your IC team is merely a design factory, churning out plans without substantial contributions, you might have a problem. Effective communication is not just about delivering what stakeholders ask for; it’s about engaging in a meaningful dialogue, contributing fresh ideas, and collaboratively shaping campaigns and initiatives.

2.       Communication Black Hole

Imagine a world where stakeholders are left in the dark, clueless about what the IC team does. Lack of awareness and communication can lead to confusion and frustration. To combat this, the team should proactively communicate their role, practices, and provide accessible channels for stakeholders to reach out.

3.       Bubble Trouble

Living in a bubble where the IC team believes their work is more important than understanding stakeholder needs is a red flag. Effective communication requires empathy and a genuine interest in aligning strategies with the goals and expectations of stakeholders.

4.       Ego Check

Egos can be the silent saboteurs of effective communication. If your IC team is asking stakeholders to figure things out without offering support or resources, it’s time for an ego check. Empowerment, not ego, should be the driving force behind successful internal communication.

5.       Platform Power Struggle

Controlling access to communication platforms might seem like a power move, but it often hinders collaboration. Instead of centralizing control, empower stakeholders to manage their content. This fosters a culture of ownership and responsibility.

6.       Delivery Agents or Challengers

Is your IC team merely a delivery service for creative agencies, or do they challenge and reshape creative strategies? Effective communication involves pushing boundaries, questioning norms, and encouraging agencies to think differently about their approach.

7.       Front and Center Fiasco

Playing hard to get when the IC team should be front, and center of the action is a classic dysfunction. Proactive engagement is key; don’t let your team shy away from the limelight when their expertise is needed most.

8.       Stakeholder Equality

Every stakeholder is valuable, and IC teams should avoid overtly displaying favouritism. Treating stakeholders equally, regardless of perceived importance, builds trust and reduces friction that biased actions can cause.

9.       Timelines and Transparency

Lastly, missing timelines and refusing to acknowledge process gaps can erode trust. Instead of playing the blame game, a dysfunctional IC team should take stock of what’s viable, set realistic expectations upfront, and maintain transparent communication throughout the process.

Recognizing the signs of dysfunction in your internal communications team is the first step towards building a stronger and more effective workplace communication culture. By addressing these issues head-on, organizations can ensure that their IC team becomes a catalyst for positive change rather than a source of frustration. Remember, communication is a two-way street, and a functional IC team paves the way for success and innovation.

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