4 Main Problems That Come With Poor Communication
Communication permeates every aspect of human existence. It plays a huge role in the establishment of relationships, cultures, and civilizations. New-born babies announce their arrival in the world using the only form of communication they know – by crying out loud. For businesses and organizations, good communication is the glue that holds things together. Despite the advancement in technology however, many businesses and organizations still struggle in this aspect, and this lack of communication leads to a host of problems in the workplace.
How Lack of Communication Impacts the Workplace
What are these problems? How can you avoid these problems and have better communication? Here are the important things you should know.
It makes workplace more stressful
Lack of communication creates a sense of negativity in the workplace which amplifies stress among your employees.
When people do not have the knowledge or the right information they need to do their job, their productivity suffers. Consequently, disconnected and uninformed employees can cause unfavorable effects on the business and its bottom line.
Often, a workplace that suffers from lack of open communication and constructive interaction has no defined strategies for communication. This leads to misunderstandings, and while misunderstandings happen all the time, regular misunderstanding in the workplace can cause serious issues such as conflict between colleagues, wasting company resources, failed tasks, failure to meet deadlines, unsuccessful projects, etc.
One tell-tale sign of poor communication is that people in the workplace are feeling tensed, overworked, and stressed. Subsequently, employees who are constantly stressed go home to their families worn out, and this deeply impacts their relationship with their families. This stress stays with them until the next day, and so on, and it can be really hard to get ahead.
Misunderstandings, arguments, and distrust
As said earlier, lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings between colleagues. This could lead to arguments and distrust between co-workers, which is the last thing you want when leading and managing a group of people.
Employees feel connected with their organization through their co-workers. You want your employees to work together towards your company’s goals. If they feel disconnected from each other, it opens a lot of room for misinterpretations, leading them to question each other’s motives, intentions, and ultimately leads to distrust.
When this happens, most people will find ways to push back, even if they cannot do it directly or openly. And this results in a never-ending cycle of arguments. This could lead to an increase in absences as your employees may not want to be in each other’s company.
Trust also goes out the window making it difficult for people to work together and meet deadlines.
Dissatisfied and unhappy clients
Superiors tend to feel frustrated and stressed when their employees miss important appointments, deadlines, and fail on important tasks and projects, but so do clients and customers. If someone from your customer service promised a customer the return of his phone services, but failed to relay the details of the problem to the technical department, that customer will end up frustrated.
When clients are dissatisfied and unhappy, they will take their business elsewhere. This will cost your company a paying customer.
It can cause the “Grapevine Effect”
Someone will share something; it just may not be exactly what you said. It probably won’t even be correct. This is called the grapevine effect – the spread of unofficial information, also known as gossip. Since gossip is often incomplete and incorrect, it is open to change and interpretation subject to the speaker and the listener.
The dissemination of ambiguous facts associated with the rumor could lead to disarray and disaster in the workplace.
So how do you solve the problem of lack of communication in the workplace?
Ways to combat lack of communication in the workplace
Improving communication is easier said than done, especially if you have no idea how to do it and what the right tools to use are. Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips to help you out.
Establish the foundation
As a leader of the team, you want each member of your team to trust you. The more they trust you, the more they are open to communicate with you. That is why you need to establish a rapport with your team first.
You can start by taking your team to lunch or dinner. Make it light and do not talk about business or work. Rather, try to learn more about each other. This small gesture will break the ice between you and your team and open the line of communication for everyone.
Prove you are trustworthy
Many employees do not trust their employer: that’s a fact. It is your job as an employer to earn their trust.
Show them you are trustworthy by being genuine to them. Prove this in words and actions by showing empathy to their dilemmas. Make sure you follow through on things you say you will, especially if they ask for your help. People will most likely communicate a challenge or problem when they know they can trust you and that you can work with them to find a solution.
Actually listen, avoid making quick assumptions
Communication is a two-way street; it is not solely about getting your message across, it is about actually listening to what they have to say. Listen carefully before responding.
Make sure you are all on the same page. Ask for clarifications and give each conversation with each of your team members your full attention.
Consequently, quickly formed assumptions that came from missed signals are a recipe for disaster. If a person is lagging in a task you assigned him, do not quickly assume he is slacking or simply does not care. Ask the person what is causing the problem and help him find a solution.
Learn their strengths and weaknesses
Part of knowing your team is knowing each of their strengths and weaknesses. You may find out some people accomplish things faster in concentrated bursts, meanwhile some do their best work in ordered and segmented blocks.
Make their roles clear to them from the start
Make sure each member of your team understands their roles and responsibilities in each project, right from the start. What channels the project needs to go through? Who has the final approval? Keep the workflow transparent and establish all the stakeholders in each project.
Be thoughtful in providing constructive criticism and compliments.
When giving your feedback, make sure you do not sound aggressive. Subsequently, give them a chance to share their thoughts and how they can work on the criticisms you just shared.
When giving compliments, break down how and why their work impressed you. Be as specific as possible.
Solving the problem of lack of communication in the workplace may be challenging, but it is worth it.