In a workplace filled with unique characters misunderstandings and communication failures are bound to happen from time to time. We after all, humans with emotions and not purely logical and data driven robots.
However, taking the time to specifically work on workplace and team communication skills will not only help avoid hurt feelings and slow burning resentments but it will also help build the rapport needed to increase overall productivity as well as employee satisfaction levels, something that is very important in creating a solid team that gets the work done.
This all sounds reasonable enough, but according to a Clear Company study 86% of employees and executives cited a lack of collaboration or ineffective communications for workplace failures. So just what is going wrong, and, more importantly, how can it all be put right? Here is a two part look at nine things that go wrong in internal communications that must be rectified before any team can work at their best.
Failure to Establish a Foundation for Workplace Relationships
If an employee does not trust their co-workers, or worse still their boss, they are far less likely to speak up when problems begin to arise. Trust can only even begin to be built if there is some form of rapport in place. Far too many employers remain aloof from their employees, meaning that the only things they know about the boss – and the boss knows about them – come from the highly untrustworthy office grapevine.
Beginning to establish a better rapport between supervisors and subordinates is not difficult though, it can begin as simply as meeting for an informal lunch, no 'shop talk' allowed. In just an hour both sides can discover far more about each other and the trust-building can begin in earnest.
Failing to Prove Trustworthiness with Your Actions
Going back to trust again – it's a biggie – according to the American Psychological Association, 25% of employees don't trust their employer, especially when it comes time for them to make good on their promises.
All the rapport building sessions in the world are not going to help if you do not follow up on what you said you would do. Employees need to know that they can trust their employer to lead, remain calm and collected in crisis – rather than fly off the handle and scream at everyone – and help the team solve any issues that arise effectively. And the only way that can be proved is by doing, rather than just talking.
Jumping to Conclusions
If Sally is failing to get her work done on time, or seems to take longer than her peers to get things done, it may seem like logical to assume that she either isn't cut out for work after all – despite her stellar resume and a promising start – or she just doesn't care enough about the job to make a real effort.
Jumping to such quick conclusions can be unfair to both sides. Sally may be having difficulties that she hasn't mentioned and all it may take is a calm, private and non-judgmental conversation to determine what is really going on. Without taking the time to organise that simple meeting an employer may be losing a great employee who just needed a nudge in the right direction, and that would be a terrible shame for everyone involved.
Failing to Define Clear Team Roles
For any team to succeed the roles that teammates are supposed to take on must be clearly defined, and a failure to do so will almost always result in failure if not near chaos. It is crucial that, right from the outset, everyone understands who is supposed to do what, who the troubleshooters are, who the decision makers are and exactly what channels the project will be expected to go through before it can be considered completed.
Join us again tomorrow for part two and the remaining things that may be sabotaging your internal communications.