A lot has been said and understood through the tool of communication. A situation where more was not required and given can spoil the situation and vice versa where lesser was given where more was required can spoil it either. While each individual tries his best to communicate well there are instances and learning bytes in every situation. More so when we are emotionally not so connected with people, our communications are not well thought sometimes; like the case of our work places. A well thought behavior is not just the requirement of your personal domains but also professional arenas. Communication problems in the workplace can have a negative impact on morale and productivity of employees. When left unchecked, ongoing communication problems can potentially cut into profits, increase manipulation, support attitudinal wars, find petty faults and give fumes to an unnecessary hyped issue out of it, etc. Sometimes these mistakes lead to situations that negatively impact the company’s public image.
Let’s understand certain problems which are created due to improper communications and how we can be aware about it.
Workplaces dominated by quick replies via mails, texts can be misunderstood, overlooked or unduly handled.
- Sometimes answering yes to a series of questions in a mail isn’t clear.
- Responding “OK” when asked to review a document doesn’t address the question and whether or not it is reviewed or to be reviewed, what kind of review is requested, where the document resides, when edit needs to be returned, etc.
- A comprehensive response on every question is not given
Leadership or Ownership Ambiguity
- Check whether each answer is separately answered with a different color clearly
- Check if there is scope of gaps to the understanding than a parallel communication through talk or addressing the same in the mail is advisable for the situation to not go grossly wrong.
When you are part of a large group, group mail, whatsapp, or group project and it is difficult to make out who is leading the conversation or responsible for results, when everyone assumes that someone else is handling things and eventually gets to a situation of blame game or finger-pointing and missed deadlines
- A group email clarifying the roles and responsibilities and moderator ownerships is a good idea in the beginning itself
- A point person to set and clarify and close the discussion or debate can be another way of clearing the blocked ways
Every person who is not used to self introspection and does not believe in correction will create situations due to:
- Not fully articulating his thoughts
- Not reacting with proper thinking
- Biased reactions, creating misunderstanding or hurt feelings due to immediate responses
- Choose your words when you are amidst a heated environment.
- Run your responses through your mental filter at least once before saying them aloud
- Check content, spelling, grammar and validity before clicking a send
- Tone is the most important tool which can make any loud thing look very polite to manage your tone and pay attention to it so that the recipient cannot misconstrue your words.
Being late or unprepared at the meetings should not be shown as an attitude or casual behavior instead it should be a one in many times. Misdirection is what makes it alarming to others.
- It’s good to admit sometimes you are unprepared and ask for more time
- An idea which is not well thought may lead you to an embarrassment when you think to throw it against the wall and hope it may stick.
Give it a thought on the tool of communication you may prefer. There are times when an email is appropriate and other times when a phone call or in-person meeting is more suitable and sensible. Wrong tool may create a confusion, misunderstanding and hurt feelings if situation is misjudged.
- Non-sensitive information can go in emails only.
- A sticky situation should not be handled on emails so that mails do go back and forth on exchange.
- Serious or bad news is best delivered in person
- Contentious debate should be handled in person to read body language, gauge temperament and make personal intention clearer to the other person
Over sharing can happen when:
- A person speaks before he thinks
- Gossip talks
- Exchanging inappropriate information
- Sloppiness or personal sensitive information release
- Email answered as “Reply to all” instead of forward having some conversations others do not require to see and judge.
- Confidentiality needs should be understood
- Sensitive meetings should be in closed doors.
- Refrain from putting highly confidential or sensitive information in email.
- Do not gossip on mails
Communications are not just meant for down levels but they start from top to down. Having a best practice at the top levels only can inculcate the culture. Orientation and staff trainings along with the behavioral practice adopted by leaders can only drive the communication at the bottom to improve. Certain communication creates problems within interdepartmental working relationships, if left unchecked. Recognizing and addressing common issues can smooth over problems before they get out of hand. Watch for common workplace communication problems and resolve them quickly because-
“When you communicate you carry your intention and positive approach to others for people to perceive you as a genuine human being.”
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