There is no effective problem solving without effective communication. While the idea to communicate clearly, timely and straightforwardly seems easy, it becomes more challenging when it comes to practice.
Below are the main problems to effective communication and the ways to avoid, prevent and overcome them.
While each of the organisations is unique, the communication challenges the internal teams face are frequently the same. Let’s take a look at them and discover how to deal with each problem.
Lack of trust and transparency
Any communication is neither effective nor easy when there is no trust and transparency. In this case, the parties have no chance of sharing their true opinions, being honest and looking for the opportunities to solve the problem collaboratively.
When there is no trust between employee and employers, the latter cant’ be engaged and motivated as well. Long story short, they see no sense in listening, collaborating and sharing their opinions with a boss since they aren’t sure they can trust them.
What’s more, this is one the most difficult challenges to overcome within an organisation.
In this case, we need to search for the root reasons of non-transparency and distrust, survey the employees anonymously, change the leadership model, promote open communication and opinion sharing, and strengthen team collaboration from within. Find out more ways to build trust in the workplace in our recent article.
This communication problem is closely tied to the previous one. The lack of trust and transparency goes hand in hand with job dissatisfaction but the latter is a broader concept which may have many different reasons. Still, regardless of the reason for the job dissatisfaction, this is one of the strongest communication problems.
In this case, as well as in the previous ones, the employees see no sense in making an effort toward understanding their leader and each other.
That’s why, even when the communication practices are clear and effective, the leader has almost no chance of reaching the mind of their employees when they are dissatisfied, unmotivated, and even already open to new job opportunities.
Overcoming job dissatisfaction as a communication problem needs a strategy in the long run. First of all, it is necessary to find out what are the core reasons for employees’ disappointment, and take the corresponding measures.
The companies focused on employee engagement and retention frequently survey their staff, measure their performance, and correlate it with motivation, satisfaction, and retention metrics to stay always aware of how things are going on in the organisation.
Having an internal conflict within a team is another team communication problem, in addition to those we have already discussed in this overview.
As a rule, two to three people are involved in a conflict but their unwillingness to communicate with each other may directly affect the performance of the whole team. What’s more, in the case of an acute conflict, the party involved may intentionally “forget to share” some important information to compromise the other party.
How can the leader deal with internal conflicts? This is the situation that is easier to prevent than to resolve. What’s more, being provoked once, the conflict can arise again and again, creating a toxic workspace environment and decreasing the performance of not only those involved but other team members as well. That’s why preventing conflicts makes more sense.
The easier step is to always stay tuned into the teams’ mood. Establishing clear and transparent communication practices, creating a collaborative and supportive environment are some more steps to prevent team conflicts and give team members an opportunity to freely share their ideas and suggest improvements without the fear of being sharply criticised.
Lack of feedback
The lack of feedback has never contributed to effective communication and collaboration. This is the problem that can be non-intentionally created by the leadership in the case the leading manager believes that everything is clear by default and the employees need neither assessment nor additional support.
Such a problem from the side of the leadership automatically creates the problem from the side of the team since they begin to consider that there will be no feedback, so there is no point in asking for it.
Fortunately, this communication problem is one of the easiest to overcome. You should get in touch with the team each time you have something to say to them about their performance, results, and efforts.
While providing your employees with feedback is essential for effective collaboration, transparency, and staying on the same page, getting back to the candidate after an interview is also important. A lot of job seekers (and potentially valuable employees) consider getting after-interview feedback important for employee’s brand development.
Cultural differences and language problems
This communication problem is relevant for companies who embrace cultural diversity, for example, EKTA Traveling. It can be the right tactic since people from different cultures and environments have different approaches to problem-solving.
But it can be a significant communication problem as well, especially when some team members are highly skilled in their main domain but aren’t too fluent in English.
Cultural differences can also be a stumbling block in team members’ communication and mutual understanding. The matter is that each of the different culture representatives perceives, processes and shares verbal information in a unique way, and the same phrase can have different direct and indirect meanings.
How to improve communication in a multinational team? The first step is to gather the right team from scratch, carefully screening the candidates and making sure they fit and complement each other with their backgrounds, skill sets, and problem-solving approaches.
Secondly, it is necessary that each of the team members has approximately the same English fluency level. In this way, it would be easier for them to understand each other. And lastly, don’t make too high bets on cultural diversity. It can be good in some cases but mostly, people with the same mentalities are more likely to find the right approaches to each other.
Inefficient information sharing and updates
Despite the wide choice of the channels to communicate, in addition to face-to-face communication, sometimes the set of the used solutions and communication practices turns out to be ineffective.
That’s why the team can miss some important updates you are sure you have shared with them. If such a situation becomes too frequent, you need to revise both communication channels and practices.
For example, your team members may consider the task manager they use ineffective because it is inconvenient for them to track the updates. So, to deal with inefficient information sharing, find out the root reason for it and eliminate it. The right way to do it is to talk to your team and ask them to suggest the approaches that will work better for them.
As the reverse side to the problem we have discussed above, information overload is also a problem to effective communication and to employee productivity, as the result. Being overwhelmed with information, updates, tasks, and ideas, they are less likely to develop a clear prioritisation tactic.
It leads to mess, misunderstandings, non-aligned vision, and consequently, mistakes failed deadlines, and other troubles.
So, make sure to clearly structure all the information you share with your team. Launch dedicated meetings devoted to a specific issue but don’t run them one by one. Prioritise the tasks and goals and assign them to the team members step by step.
Lack of active listening skills
This problem can be relevant for both leaders and their subordinates. Still, the consequence is the same – there is no effective communication and mutual understanding since the parties aren’t involved in the discussion. Instead, they create the impression of being here but don’t tune into the issue and don’t try to understand what the other party is talking about.
The reasons for having no active listening skills (or desire) can be different. Sometimes the leaders are confident that their opinion is the only right one so that there is no sense in listening to the employees. Employees, in turn, may have the same attitude.
Nevertheless, the solution to the problem is straightforward – you should not only hear but also listen to and take into account the ideas, suggestions, or complaints the employees share. The latter in turn, are welcome to take on the same approach but in this case, it is easier said than done.
Employees become active listeners only when they are satisfied with their jobs and are indifferent to the company’s success but to create such an attitude, you should invest a lot in an employee brand, company culture, and team spirit development.
Remote communication via ineffective channels
The recent pandemic left most businesses with no other choice than to switch to online mode and get started with remote communication solutions. However, the latter are effective only when they are chosen and used right. Otherwise, they only create additional stumbling blocks, such as response delays, misunderstandings, and missed updates.
To solve this problem, you have to first, pick the right remote communication tool that will suit all your team members. Secondly, establish clear communication rules. For example, the response time should not exceed 20 minutes, and the team should have daily calls in the morning to discuss the upcoming tasks.
Lack of personalisation
Effective communication is always personal, so a lack of personalisation can be a problem to building truthful and transparent relations between the management and subordinates. What’s more, here you need to feel a fine line between personal communication as such and personal still professional communication.
As some of the best practices, you can highlight the strongest skill of an employee, and praise them for their recent achievements as a part of both face-to-face communication and during team meetings.
Communicating effectively has always been a challenge in both personal and business spheres. However, being well aware of the communication pitfalls and problems can help you develop such communication practices that will help keep your team engaged, effective, and conflict-free.
Keep in mind the ones we have highlighted in this article, shortlist the most relevant to your work environment and deal with them step by step.
About the Author
Isabelle Jordan is a business and marketing journalist at Ekta Traveling insurance company. She writes for different news portals and thematic blogs that helps her stay at the heart of the travel and insurance news. Isabelle knows everything and more about travel insurance.