No relation exists without conflict. Period. If not major, there are bound to be the minor instances of arguments and situations where opinions don't match. One of the major reasons that leads to conflict is miscommunication. This is especially true of the workplace. When a group of individuals work together there is bound to be miscommunication in some form or the other. And that cannot be helped. When there is miscommunication in the workplace it will have a negative effect on the work culture―souring relations, affecting productivity, and leading to poor performances. The direct result of which will be felt on the productivity, and ultimately the outcome. So why does miscommunication take place? Are there ways to avoid it? If not, how does one deal with it? And how does one go about improving the general communication at the workplace?
- Non-cooperation - There is no cooperation between the different employees, or the management and the employees, and that gives rise to miscommunication.
- No Feedback - There is no effective communication by way of giving feedback to the others. Which is just another way of inviting trouble.
- Criticism - There is a lot of criticism and backbiting among the staff. The blame is placed on others and therefore there is mistrust and lack of confidence in others.
- Threat of Favoritism - There is a general belief that some people are being given more preference than the others. And this leads to the lessening of the want to work.
These are only some of the examples and instances of the same. There can be several other reasons that lead to problems in effective communication in the workplace. One of the most common examples of miscommunication at work is when an important message is sent through someone, instead of communicating it directly, and if they fail to communicate it effectively, it automatically leads to conflict, and thereby causes miscommunication.
If one is aware that there are things which can cause miscommunication, then it will be easier to avoid them. Here are some things that one can do in order to avoid (as far as possible) the instances of the same.
Learn to Communicate
The right communication in the workplace is very important. This means that when you are putting forth some information and are expecting results from it, then you should be crystal clear about the message you dispatch. A message that is vague, unclear, and open to interpretation is one of the most potent ways by which miscommunication can happen. To avoid that, first formulate the message in such a way that there will be no room for doubt left and there will be no scope for interpreting it in different ways. If you say something like "I want this to be done by tomorrow" and do not specify the deadline, the person responsible, and other details, the employees will interpret it according to their convenience and that will lead to major conflicts.
Be clear and to the point. Do not beat around the bush and dwell on topics that are not important. The message should be so clear and concise that each one should understand it and remember it well, because a long drawn message with a lot of confusing matter will only increase the chances of miscommunication taking place.
Find the best medium for communicating the message to the employees. Something by way of which the message will reach all, will be comprehended by all, and the results will be a definite outcome. Find out what medium suits best. Is it a meeting? A conference? A one-to-one meeting? A generic mail? Or appointing a staff member like an HR or manager who has a great rapport with the employees and can therefore do a better job of communicating things? Once you have the perfect medium that will fulfill all your needs, many instances of miscommunication can be avoided.
Once you have dispatched the message in the most effective way, do not sit back thinking that all will be cared for. Make sure that you get feedback from the employees asking if they've understood the nature of the message well and what is expected of them.
These pointers not only work where the employer-employee relation is concerned, but are applicable for all relations in the workplace in general. If one adopts these methods, it will lead to effective communication in the workplace and the chances of miscommunication in the workplace will be dramatically reduced.