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Effects of ineffective communication in the workplace

3 min read
ineffective communication

Ineffective communication is one of the main causes of misunderstandings in the workplace, often creating hostility, angst, and spite among co-workers. Because of its damaging effects on co-worker relationships, ineffective communication can limit an organisation’s ability to optimise its productivity and performance.

General Manager of SenateSHJ Jamie Morse said remote working environments present a challenge to internal communication in an organisation. The lack of opportunities for informal interactions has led to leaders reverting to scheduled video conferences and other online communication platforms just to check in with teams and individuals. 

The failure to communicate and execute styles, incorrect use of communication vehicles, lousy timing and nuances in tone of voice and choice of words can occur in these communication platforms and it will cause tension and poor performance in the workplace.

Aside from implementing effective communication tools, skills and approaches, it is also important to stay aware of the negative effects of ineffective communication to prevent them from occurring.

Here are some of the effects of ineffective communication within the workplace and what you can do to prevent them from happening within your own organisation.

Culture of suspicion and distrust 

When there is a failure in the communication of goals by the management, employees would end up misinterpreting their intentions. They would believe that vital information is being kept from them. The “Us vs. Them” mentality is then created from this distrust, causing detrimental effects as workers are no longer motivated to contribute to the organisation.

Hence, it is necessary for workplaces to build trusting relationships by clearly establishing a goal and relaying the methods to achieve it. Organisations that have done this developed a strong sense of confidence and trust among their workers. 

Absence of teamwork and collaboration 

When there is limited engagement in the workplace, the lack of commitment, poor organizational morale and turnovers can lead to poor work relationships. These poor work relationships will then create ineffective communication strategies, breaking down the sincerity within co-worker relationships and employee-employer engagements.

When this happens, workers are less likely to be inclined towards collaborative efforts. The lack of collaborative effort on everyone’s part will make it difficult for the organisation to reach its corporate goals and objectives. 

The best way to improve workplace engagement is to allow and encourage workers to provide their input on ideas, insights and feedback. By allowing open communication, workers can open up to one another, establish personal trust and collaboratively build methods that can improve the organisation’s productivity.

Ambiguity, doubt and uncertainty 

An unorganised flow of information can also cause confusion, leaving workers unsure of which tasks to prioritise. Thus, it is important that a top-down communication method should be exercised within an organisation to keep the flow of information moving in a single direction.

This is one of the best ways to achieve effective working departments, workers and leaders. A top-down communication method, where information is filtered down from high-ranking officials to employees, can provide individuals to work with a sense of certainty. 

Ineffective client relations and interactions 

The lack of effective communication within the workplace can create poor communication between the employees and the organisation’s clients, limiting the organisation’s ability to build a base of loyal customers. This effect can even worsen when an organisation does not handle its customer feedback in order to identify its issues and improve its customer experience and communication strategies.  

Issues related to designation or resources

When resources in an organisation are limited, poor communication can cause resources to be distributed to the wrong recipients. And when this happens, the morale and productivity of the teams involved will be negatively affected.

When developing good strategies of communication in an organisation, one must make ensure to promote constant and continuous communication between workgroups when resource allocation is involved.  

Rumour-mongering and the culture of gossip 

Inadequate and ineffective communication in a workplace can sometimes result in the development of hearsays resulting in tension and friction.  Rumours and gossips promote animosity amongst workmates. Some workers consider this culture of gossip to be a leisure activity which makes matters even worse. Workmate bonds are destroyed and some are even beyond repair.  

Poor communication in the workplace can affect corporate culture, costs, leadership and productivity. For those organisations where inefficient communication is prevalent, they may feel less involved, heard of and understood. Eventually it will lead to a decrease in their performance and are less productive.  

When management does not communicate well, it may lead to the development of distrust and confusion. One of the primary skills to have for a leader to be effective is the ability to communicate. If a leader has failed to hone his communicative skills, the ability to lead will definitely suffer. Workers will have to work harder and yet they do not accomplish much. Thus, the cost of doing the business will be affected when a leader fails to communicate efficiently.  

When an organisation makes a conscious effort into prioritising communication, the realisation of corporate goals and increased profitability or productivity is within reach. With fully engaged employees, come favourable results as they tend to work smarter and harder. Eventually, it will help the business in achieving the full potential for your organisation.  


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