Five Roadblocks of Communication in Your Office

Management Insight

by Kate Webster

Poor communication in the workplace can lead to numerous problems and can often prevent your business from moving forward as quickly as it should. Communication is key for the success of any business; as you know, this is what fuels new ideas and keeps things running as efficiently as possible.

Miscommunication can lead to tension in the workplace, which can be distracting and effect employee morale and productivity. It is very important that as an employer, you actively seek to improve communication within the workplace.

While we at Resource Nation know that a basic phone system keeps you connected with customers, it won’t cut it for employees.

Not Having a System for Communication

To ensure communication, you have to first put the correct technology and processes in place. If employees are for some reason incapable of communicating with people throughout the company, how can you expect them get their necessary work done?

  • Be sure you invest in a quality phone system that will allow your employees to speak freely and instantly without having to wait for lines to free up or connectivity to improve.
  • Provide employees with the resources to keep lines of communications open. Make employee contact information and email address accessible to others in the office, and be sure to encourage questions and productive feedback from everyone in the office.

Being Closed-Minded

We are all guilty of it to some extent, but being closed-minded in the workplace can prevent your business from moving forward. Every business should be about innovation and new ideas, and a closed-minded perspective will quickly extinguish any creative spark.

Even when participating in casual conversation around the office, you should acknowledge that others might have different perspectives than your own and be open to hearing opinions.

Hierarchy of Authority

This is a communication roadblock that isn’t always acknowledged in the workplace, but happens frequently. Because of the hierarchy that seems to naturally exist in the workplace, people tend to fall into relative positions of power.

Often times an employee’s job title (for example “boss” or “supervisor”) creates an unintentional roadblock of communication. An employee in a “lower” or different position might feel intimidated to communicate with someone in a higher position.

Time Constraints

Communication in the workplace is often held within time constraints, such as an hour-long meeting or conference call. Depending on the speakers own abilities, more time might be necessary in order to properly communicate an idea.

  • Always leave time to invite questions, as your tailored answer might be more effective than what you prepared ahead of time.
  • Let others know if you will be cut short, and tell them that you intend to follow through with more information. It’s important that you never leave questions unanswered for long.
  • Set up a meeting time outside regular office hours to brainstorm ideas or talk about things further. A relaxed environment might stimulate an entirely different perspective.

Difference in Expertise

Probably the most fundamental roadblock of communication seen in the workplace is when a conversation is happening between two people with different levels of expertise. It is likely that if one person has significantly greater knowledge of the subject than the other, a misunderstanding or disconnect will take place.

Be sure that employees are patient with one another and can work together to both speak and listen effectively. Acting professionally and respectfully is key in resolving these types of miscommunication.

An office workplace should be a positive environment that promotes effective communication. The total estimated cost of employee misunderstanding in 100,000-employee companies was $37 billion in 2011 (TheHolmesResport). In order for everyone to do their best work and collaborate on innovative ideas, as well as avoid possibly devastating error, both social and physical lines of communication should be kept open.

Kate Webster writes for lead generation resource, www. She focuses on a variety of topics including, business communications. Follow Resource Nation on Facebook and Twitter, too! Kate is a guest writer for Ringio blog.

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