Communication is a skill that is needed not just daily but also in any field of work. Whether you have an enterprise or a small business, good communication is essential. However, communication in a workplace isn’t only about how well you socialize, build relationships with others, or minimize errors. Communication at a workplace is also about how to work productively as possible. It can also boost teamwork to lead to much better project collaboration.
Therefore, it is vital to encourage everyone on your team to have effective communication habits as a leader. Otherwise, according to surveys, communication barriers can cost an estimated $37 billion a year in lost productivity.
What is Effective Communication at a Workplace?
First off, we have to know that effective communication is done when a message is sent and received accurately. With that, you cannot just send ideas and information to your organization or your team. You need to ensure that everyone receives the message as accurately as possible. Maintaining effective communication can ensure that the management and your team are on the same page. Meaning, your team is confident with the work at hand. In return, managers are much assured that their members are correctly undertaking the work.
Part of effective communication at a workplace is having a shared meaning. ‘Shared Meaning’ refers to information being understood by the parties involved. It is the use of words or industry-specific terminology that everyone understands.
One of the definitions of effective communication suggests that effective communication is when a sender sends a message through an appropriate medium with easy-to-comprehend content to a receiver who successfully receives the message and provides his feedback. To know more about this, one needs to understand different leadership styles and the difference between one-way communication and two-way communication.
One-Way Communication Vs Two-Way Communication
Both of these communication styles have their own pros and cons in the workplace environment.
The term one-way communication means that the communication is just passed in one direction and there is no concept of feedback. For example, a manager would give away orders and not take any feedback from workers and would expect that his message has been understood by the workers. One-way communication is usually seen in the case of armed forces. It is not advised in regular business circumstances because some employees might not understand or might have questions associated with work.
The term two-way communication means that communication is back and forth with feedback being very important. For example, after giving the instructions, the manager might ask “Does anyone have any question, Do you understand my point, Any confusion” etc. Such questions would allow the employees to clear out their confusion. This results in everyone being on the same page.
Different Types of Leadership with Regards to Communication
There are mainly three types of leadership styles practiced at workplaces while each one of them has different approaches towards communication.
Autocratic Leadership Style and Communication
The autocratic leadership style can be referred to as dictatorship. The employees are expected to obey orders on a do-as-directed basis. There are no opinions of the employees in the decision making and they only have to obey orders. Generally, there is one-way communication in this form of leadership and there isn’t any kind of feedback taken from employees. This kind of leadership style is quite demotivating and brings a fall-back in the productivity of the employees. However, in certain critical circumstances such as a business crisis, such a leadership style proves to be useful.
Democratic Leadership Style and Communication
Democratic leadership style can be referred to as the give-and-take leadership style. The managers indulge in two-way communication with the employees. Employees share up their problems with the managers as well as possible suggestions for the goodwill of the business. The two-way communication and feedback-receival ensure that the message is understood and there are no ambiguities. Besides, the employees are also not scared to voice up. This leadership style is practiced in most contemporary business organizations today.
Laissez-faire Leadership Style and Communication
Laissez-faire leadership style is a bit unique as it means “allow to do”. The managers give a free hand to the employees in such a leadership style. The employees can do whatever they want as they have a free hand. Communication is “overdone” in this form of leadership. Due to the excessive communication and lack of clear guidelines without a fixed set of implemented policies, there is a situation of chaos and confusion among the workers. This is the least-practiced leadership style as the communication associated with it isn’t too good.
Importance of Effective Communication at Workplace
Having good communication at the workplace is crucial and results in improved business performance. Here are a few reasons why
Leads to Absolute Clarity
With effective communication at the workplace, everyone is clear of what is expected of them. When the communication isn’t effective, employees within an organization are making more mistakes.
Improved Productivity and Motivates Workers
With absolute clarity and reduced mistakes due to effective communication, there is improved productivity of the workers. They can work with concentration without having any form of ambiguities in their mind. Besides, the workers are motivated when they are asked for feedback or their suggestions are taken up by the management of an organization. They feel trusted, valued, and appreciated which in turn helps the business in terms of improved employee performance.
Helps in Mitigating Conflicts
Conflicts are an inevitable aspect of the workplace environment. No matter what you do, conflicts will come. However, the right approach is to know how to deal with such conflicts. This is only possible when communication is at its highest standards in a workplace. For example, if two workers are having a conflict and the manager only listens to one side of the story, he might be making a wrong judgment and compromising the other individual’s integrity and viewpoint. On the other hand, if he listens to both sides of the problem, he will be able to mitigate the conflict in a much better manner.
Reduces Sexual Harassment
In workplaces where there isn’t effective communication, there is an increased complaint of sexual harassment. This is because workers are unable to communicate to the right authority in case of any such problem. Effective communication results in reduced sexual harassment as there is a proper check and balance, as well as employees, are aware of where and how to communicate such a matter.
Reduced Turnover Rate
Many businesses face the problem of an increased turnover rate. Employees leave the company when they are confused or not listened to, and this is a key indicator of poor communication within a company. Therefore, good communication is necessary at the workplace so that the employee turnover rate reduces.
Results in Good Reputation
When a firm would be indulged ineffective communication, the workers and other stakeholders would be talking good about the company. Low employee turnover rate and improved productivity indicators will improve the reputation of the company in the long run. Ultimately, this is useful for a company in terms of improved public relations as well.
How to Improve Communication in a Workplace?
According to a survey conducted by the Harris Poll, not only do employees stagger when it comes to communicating. The survey also stated that 69% of employers have a hard time communicating in general or in everyday communication. This suggests how communication is lacking in most workplaces. If not treated, this could harm the business. Therefore, the following techniques can be used to improve workplace communication.
Scheduling a Meeting
Scheduling meetings may sound simple, but most companies do not often practice it. Meetings are essential since listening to others is arguably one of the necessary communication skills that one can possess. Through this, you can find if you have the tendency to talk over others or if you have the patience to wait for your turn.
This applies not only to the employers but, most importantly, to a boss. When employers feel like they are being listened to, they feel more appreciated and valued. When this happens, they create a more collaborative culture. Furthermore, this is also the chance to understand concerns or issues that have something to do with the task from an employer’s perspective.
Just like there are many online businesses, there can be online meetings too for addressing employee concerns.
Time is also one of the most important assets of successful managers. So, in discussions and meetings, it is crucial to have brief and concise meetings. However, discussions that may seem dragged out can dilute the meaning of the message, may leave out important details, or complicate things. With that, make sure to keep communication on point and brief.
To give the best service possible, one must also need to refine their communication style. Either you create follow-up meeting notes or scheduled calls to create an established routine so that your colleagues will know what to expect. Aside from that, communication style also refers to the frequency of communication. The democratic leadership style as highlighted above is one of the most recommended ones.
You need to clarify things and assume that not everything you say was understood. You need feedback on whether they understood the things stated or not. That way, you can speak up should there be a need to clarify something. Asking questions is one way to help you gain an understanding of whether they understood you or not. So, you need to encourage your team to ask questions if they are unsure of something. Clarifying things can improve relations, as well as minimize errors. Double-checking can also save you from mistakes in the future.
Being open-minded is also an important communication skill that one should possess. This skill allows someone to enter a free-of-judgment communication, which could give the person speaking confidence in explaining ideas that can benefit the company. On the other hand, if you are quick to shut things down, your employees will tend to be less inclined to tell you their ideas. Also, conversations will be less productive and honest because of this.
Besides, this also includes listening to both sides of the story in an open manner and not giving judgment on the basis of one side of the aspect.
Workplace communication has become an important phenomenon of the current times. The increased need for good communication is directly related to business performance and employee performance as well. Therefore, businesses need to take this concept seriously and introduce a set of policies at the workplace which would ensure better communication. We hope that the above post has helped you out in learning why communication is important in the workplace.
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