4 Common Communication Issues that Spell Disaster

January 13, 2023

Ineffective communication can be disastrous in any relationship. Employees who don't have access to the appropriate channels for constructive workplace communication feel under-appreciated, and disengaged, and are less likely to go above and beyond to be an innovator for your business. Moreover, poor communication at work can have a financial cost to your company! 

 

There are several telltale signs that a business has a communication problem, but thankfully there is a cure.

 

1. Communication Barriers

Although they can consider taking many different forms, information-sharing or information-receiving barriers are at the heart of all communication barriers. For example, a lack of face-to-face interaction between remote team members can be a communication barrier, team members juggling multiple time zones and different schedules, utilising or favouring various platforms for communication among team members, members of the team not knowing where to look for documentation or even language diversity or workplace jargon.

 

Due to the covid pandemic, communication barriers have gotten worse for many organisations as their employees has moved to remote work. These obstacles won't go away because more than half of knowledge workers say they want to continue working remotely after the pandemic. Leading companies are confronting these issues head-on, though, to make sure that workers can communicate effectively wherever they are.

Next up! 

 

 

 

2. Diversity and heavy use of jargon

 

The majority of departments and businesses use their own jargon on a daily basis to give the impression that everyone speaks the same "language." The discussion of particular associations and variations in language and "field of experience" goes even further. People's backgrounds, perceptions, values, biases, needs, and expectations are among the areas of experience. Only within the context of their areas of expertise can our audience decode messages. When our field of experience overlaps only a little, communication becomes difficult.

 

Solution to overcome 1) Communication Barriers & 2) Diversity and heavy use of jargon

Team members can now communicate face-to-face even when they are not physically present thanks to video conferencing tools like Zoom. However, it's also crucial for businesses to offer asynchronous collaboration tools when workers begin to experience Zoom fatigue or must communicate while working on different schedules. When real-time input is not required, you could, for instance, permit team members to record and share videos of their project updates, or subject matter experts could answer frequently asked questions by writing them down and sharing them on the company's knowledge management platform.

 

By stating clearly how various channels should be used, you can help prevent communication issues brought on by team members relying on various channels of communication or being unaware of where to find documented information. By compiling a glossary of terms commonly used in the workplace and industry, you can further reduce terminology-related confusion. Employees can find information even if they don't know the exact terms the author used by selecting a knowledge management platform that supports synonym searching.

3. Assumptions and Misinterpretations

Because of their unique frames of reference, employees frequently assume that their peers are approaching a problem or project in the same manner as they would. This leads to misunderstandings in the workplace. Work frequently fails and confusion reigns when employees make assumptions about a project's parameters, who will complete each step of the project, how it will be completed, the review process, and more. Employee assumption-making is typically a sign of poor project management communication from the top down. 

Solution to Overcome Assumptions and Misinterpretations

To prevent presumptions from derailing cooperative efforts, you can demonstrate clear communication as a department or team leader. Before attendees leave meetings with action items, reiterate the items on the agenda to ensure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and next steps. When someone else shares a thought with you, rephrase it for them and inquire about your understanding. When necessary, ask questions to elicit clarification. Establish a schedule for status updates and err on the side of excessive communication.

4. Lack of Feedback

Employees should never feel like they’re in the dark about how they’re doing at their job. Additionally, they shouldn't need to wait until their yearly performance review to receive feedback. Employees are more likely to miss the mark and become increasingly irritated if they receive infrequent or no feedback. This might result in more staff leaving your company! Given that it costs six to nine months of an employee's salary to replace them, that is not a cheap proposition.

Solution to Improve Feedback

As a manager, be sure to meet with your direct reports frequently and provide feedback promptly. Share both constructive and unfavourable comments. When employees go above and beyond expectations, managers with poor communication skills frequently fail to acknowledge and congratulate them, but are quick to point out their shortcomings. Focusing on the negative will make top performers feel undervalued by their employer, which will cause them to look for work with one that will.

If negative feedback is necessary, make sure it is constructive by being specific about what needs to be improved and avoiding criticising factors that are beyond the employee's control. Engage your team members in a two-way dialogue and give them the chance to comment and ask questions.

Conclusion

Effective communication is challenging. Building genuine connections requires patience, diligence, and openness. But it's worthwhile in the end. Employees who are encouraged to engage in open dialogue report higher job satisfaction, feel more at ease working together on creative projects and develop new skills that advance business objectives.

Then watch them succeed as they work for a company that values, listens to, and respects them by using the advice above to assist your staff in developing positive relationships with you and each other.

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