Poor communication can hurt productivity and morale, while increasing misunderstandings and conflict among employees. The trouble is that people often don’t even realize that they are causing communication breakdowns.
Here are three of the biggest communication fails in the workplace and what you can do to correct them:
1. Email is the only means of communicating. According to Phil Simon, author of Message Not Received, the average person receives up to 150 emails a day. As a result, employees lose information, miss important details, misinterpret people’s tone or intentions, and become overwhelmed by the glut of information.
Fix: Use other means of communication, including phone calls, online collaboration tools, apps, in-person visits, texting or instant messaging. Set guidelines for which format to use in which situations.
2. Silos and turf wars prevent communication. When employees focus only on their own objectives, regardless of how it affects other teams or employees, collaboration comes to a halt. Employees don’t share—or may even withhold—information from one another.
Fix: You will need to break down walls by focusing all employees on your common goals, explaining how everyone supports everyone, and keeping people focused on your most important asset: your customers.
3. Communication is simply lacking. Managers and executives simply aren’t doing a good enough job of providing employees with directions, announcing and explaining changes, and sharing overall information about the company. Employees have no idea what’s going on and it affects their productivity and motivation.
Fix: Be as transparent as possible. Explain your decisions, justify changes and share information openly.
— Adapted from “4 Common Communication Failures (and How to Fix Them),” Nicole Fallon, Business News Daily, www.businessnewsdaily.com.