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Effects of ineffective communication in the workplace

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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.

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

Limited engagement can also cause poor work relationships, creating ineffective communication strategies and breaking down the sincerity between co-workers and boss engagements.

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.

To offset this effect, an organisation must properly handle its customer feedback. There must also be discussions within the workplace to identify and resolve key problems in order to improve customer experience and communication.  

Issues on the designation of 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.

To develop good strategies of communication, it must be ensured that constant and continuous communication between workgroups on resource allocation is promoted.  

Workplace gossip 

Ineffective communication can result in workplace gossip. Workplace gossip is often the cause of toxic work environments due to the decline of trust and morale. Some might even turn to gossip as a leisure activity and promote further animosity among co-workers.

Prevent toxic work environments by enacting “zero-tolerance” policies on workplace gossip and privately addressing the perpetrators. Not only will this prevent the loss of work productivity, but it will also set a good framework for employees on how to conduct themselves at work.

The effects of ineffective communication

Poor communication in the workplace can affect corporate culture, costs, leadership and productivity. People who work at organisations where inefficient communication is prevalent may feel less involved and more inclined to perform poorly.  

An organisation must build up a good communication strategy in order to effectively lead its workers. By making a conscious effort in improving internal communication, employees can be more engaged with their work and with the overall goal. And with better-engaged employees, it becomes easy for an organisation to achieve its full potential.

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