When Lack of Good Communication is a Problem

It’s important to have good communication skills when working in an office environment. Miscommunication can cost a company money or a lost client. Good communication skills are especially necessary among team members. So, what are some things that can be done to improve communication with your team members?

Communication problems

First one of the main issues in not communicating properly is the failure to listen properly. This especially so because co-workers will often interrupt each other when they’re planning a project to keep their own thoughts fresh. So instead of just listening to what the other person is saying, talking about what is on their mind is the priority. Points being said are then missed. Other distractions could be trying to sneak a look at a cell phone or daydreaming. All this is a reflection on listening skills, and listening skills are needed for effective communication.

What to do then is before a meeting, stress how important it is that everyone pays attention. Eye contact with each speaker is important too, and people should be as brief as possible when making contributions to subjects. Keep things on point.

Another issue may be authority or hierarchy problems. People may feel that what is said about a problem just goes around and around with no action so why bother. So a workplace needs clear delineations of authority and open effective paths for problem-solving.

Also, problems can occur in communication at work when people are reticent about approaching the manager about problems. The person could be upset about a problem and not bring up the subject up then and just sulk. The way to solve this is to have an avenue for face-to-face conversations with management; with assurances of confidentiality if it is about a co-worker. By talking about problems before they escalate, things can be resolved.

If communications are written poorly, this is a problem too. When a communication comes through the office, the syntax should be correct with the right grammar and statements in context then. If not, then miscommunications can crop up as well as misunderstandings. Always have documents or memos proofread before issuing them then to make sure that there aren’t any errors or that orders aren’t given that are not understandable.

If your office has other offices in several locations, then communication between them can become confused. Since communications are done through memos, emails, or private phone calls; things can get lost in the shuffle. Projects can be delayed or waylaid. How to solve this is to have regularly scheduled meetings. Have the teams assemble and if needed, have conference calls for everyone not present where everyone can hear. When the meeting is over, ask everyone to summarize the meeting’s points and then go over the content of the statements for comments.

What miscommunication causes

One of the issues that miscommunication can cause is conflicts which can affect an organization in several ways. Some of these ways are listed below:

  • A lack of communication can cause uncertainty, and that can cause stress and conflict. For example, if one employee is waiting for key documents to be delivered by another employee, but the other employee seems unconcerned and won’t return a call on the subject. That employee is late with the work, and the other employee starts to worry how that is going to affect the project that’s being worked on. This can cause conflict between the two employees because of lack of communication.
  • If the company only has limited resources that are used by everyone. For instance, there’s only one printer, and two people need to use it, but neither one notified the other one. They both show up to use it, and then an argument starts.
  • Communication between members of a team working on a project is important. If team members don’t communicate between themselves, then roles and responsibilities won’t be clear. There will also be the possibility that either one’s  work won’t be completed or something will be overlooked. Then the project won’t be completed on time, and the company could lose a client or a contract.
  • Also, poor communication skills can be the start of rumors and gossip. People who don’t know may try to be the answer person and fail miserably.

Without proper communication, confusion can take over a business quickly.