Poor communication within your company or organization is like mold growing underneath your kitchen sink: at first, you don’t know it’s there, then you start noticing something foul in the air, then – if you haven’t caught it in time – you have to throw things out and spend a lot of time and money dealing with the damage. Poor communication has an insidious quality — it feeds on itself and can precipitate into all sorts of toxic consequences, none of which belong in a healthy, productive workplace.
Below, as listed in the Houston Chronicle, are four of the most common signs of poor communication in your business:
1. Too Much Communication
Good communication is about quality over quantity. Especially if you are a leader within your organization, listening is one of the surest ways to promote healthy communication among your team. Poor examples of communication include responding to texts, phone calls, and emails during business meetings, or budgeting time to speak to your colleagues without budgeting time to listen. Around a quarter of employees consider email to be a major productivity killer, so it’s important to know how to effectively communicate when there is a lot that needs to be said.
2.Too Little Communication
Just as frustrating as over-communication is a lack of communication. Unsurprisingly, an employee’s productivity drops significantly when they don’t have enough details or information to complete their job. Art Markman of The Harvard Business Review notes that a significant percentage of the workforce expresses frustration over lack of communication within the companies they work for. Intentional, effective communication is rather easy to achieve and can greatly improve morale and productivity in the workforce.
Conversations and statements that focus on problems instead of solutions are counterproductive and unhelpful – and common! The foundation of business practice is to achieve solutions and move forward in progress. The creativity and drive that propel business is liable to being derailed by negative communication patterns. Negative communication can be as obvious as rude language and corrosive gossip, or it can be much more subtle, in the form of complaining or communication complacency.
When it comes to work, everyone likes direction, and no one likes being controlled. Commands, passive aggression, and belightlement are all forms of controlling communication that ultimately inhibit creative thinking and intrinsic motivation to do well at a task. It is especially important for those in leadership and authority positions to develop communication strategies that inspire confidence and independence instead of diminishing confidence and independence through unnecessary controlling language.
The significant and disastrous effects of poor communication in your organization should not be taken lightly. Strong communication can do wonders for your business. Companies that target their communication practices in order to have “highly engaged” employees can improve their operating income by 19.2 percent over a 12-month period. Organizations with connected employees can improve their productivity by 25 percent. It’s been found that businesses with effective communication strategies are 50 percent more likely to have below-average employee turnover levels.
I’ve been helping companies and organizations rethink and strengthen their communication strategies for over 20 years. If your organization needs a communication reboot, you can reach me through my website Christianafrank.com or email me directly at [email protected].