Communication problems in the workplace, learn to avoid them
When you go to a job interview and they ask you what is your experience working as a team, we all try to prove that we work great, that we are friendly and that anyone would be comfortable working with us. But the truth is that a lot of people prefer to work on their own. Not because we are introverted people living in caves and eating crickets, but because we know that communication problems in the workplace can cause great misunderstandings, and if you have been working for more than 10 years, I am sure you have witnessed complicated and sometimes even horrific situations.
But still, working as a team is vital, so that we can give much more of ourselves. Sometimes you might be lucky to have wonderful colleagues, who do their work, help you and solve your doubts, but you may as well encounter people with personalities that are different from yours, lazy, with a different working pace and even grumpy. You have to face one situation or another, communications problems in the workplace are the order of the day and learning to communicate within the team is vital for the work to move forward.
Peter Drucker, a well-known philosopher, dedicated to the administration of S.XX, he affirms that “60% of the business problems are the consequence of bad communication”. And even if you think that you are an expert on communicating your ideas, check these tricks to reduce communication problems in the workplace:
You should know that not all communications are the same; here are three simple tricks to achieve a great start on good work environment without communication problems in the workplace:
Think about the most appropriate way to deliver the message:
Imagine that you’ve just received in your WhatsApp, a text from your wife in capital letters and it says “COME HOME AND CLEAN UP THE KITCHEN”. When you first see it your first reaction might be: oh my lord! I need to get home as fast as I can, my kitchen is full of tomato sauce from that lasagne that I made in the morning and now my wife is going to kill me. Then when you get home your wife greets you with a kiss, a big smile and goes back to the sofa to see that last chapter of Walking Dead. You ask her if she is mad at you and she answers: me? Why would I be?
I wonder how many times this has happened to you on a single day! There are different methods to communicate, and sometimes, short texts, emails or internal chats within the office, can be misinterpreted and might lead to confusion. Leave those messages and texts for later, in the office, whenever possible, go for a face to face chat. If you find yourselves located in different offices, telephone calls and video calls are useful but a software like eHorus is even more useful.
How do we express what is going on?
In our case, a software development company, developers, sales department, human resources team, graphic designers, writers and translators, they all have studied in different fields. In order to deliver a message you have to learn to adapt your speech depending on the person you are talking to.
Talk, but not too much:
On the one hand, it’s great when we ask questions, but stop talking too much. Continually interrupting our colleague by showing her how cute your dog is or showing her videos of children singing covers on YouTube, will confuse and annoy your colleague. There are times when you must be quiet and respect others, and if you are having a lazy day, do not try to delay the work of your colleagues by talking too much. On the other hand, too many questions can be annoying, remember that there is Mr Google, and when talking about issues that are not very important, we encourage you to use it, be a more responsible person.
Put these tips into practice, and you will see that work relationships will be more bearable. But communication problems in the workplace can be further reduced by considering several guidelines that must be implemented by the workers and representatives of each group:
- Everyone must feel like members of the same team: by having a clear and defined goal and feeling that the work that needs to be done, it is something important. We are all part of a chain, from assembling to the sales department or support department, all these are essential for a company to work.
- External activities: They say you cannot take trust for granted. But in this case, foster peer relationships by doing activities outside the office hours might be a good idea. Few beers in the pub down the road or karaoke day can improve the environment and create longer relationships. There are a lot of companies, which do barbecues, dinners, escape rooms; it does actually improve the relationships and helps to remove the communication problems in the workplace.
- Learn to listen and share your ideas: It is important to feel part of the group; otherwise it will be difficult for some people to express their views freely. Regardless of whether you are shy or very outgoing, it feels good to be heard. Each employee may have good ideas to improve the product, department, organization, etc.…taking into account everyone’s ideas is almost impossible, so it is a very good idea to have a support tool to introduce suggestions, and if these are effective, then they can be carried out. Some examples for this might be: software like gitHub or a suggestions Tupper placed in your kitchen.
- Avoid exaggerations: Communication is an art form. We all have that colleague who exaggerates or spice up a bit all the news. It is important to learn to inform your colleagues at the right time without manipulating information. This way, we can avoid rushed decisions and panic.
- Be empathetic with your colleagues: Although this word might be the trendy word that everyone uses, there is a reason for it, getting into someone’s shoes is critical in order to improve communication at work. We are not all the same and nowadays it’s very common to work with foreign colleagues. It does not matter where you were born, whether or not you believe in God, the language you speak, or your culture or gender. We must learn to communicate with every type of person, it is very difficult to find someone who thinks exactly like you, but if you’re respectful, you will almost certainly be respected. “Only when diversity is assumed, we will be able to communicate properly.”
- Learning to solve problems: Because we are all different people, it is normal that different opinions arise; often this will create problems within the group. At this point it is important not to wait until the problem explodes, the best thing to do when problems arise is to do a meeting in order to discuss what is happening. Sometimes it may be due to misunderstandings or problems in the organization, so in order to prevent this from going further, it should be treated on time, by looking for solutions that do not harm any group. This way being fair and intelligent.
So this it, we have seen some of the tips that everyone should start putting into practice today. If you want to see more work communication related articles we recommend visiting Pygmalion Effect in the workplace.