Effective communication is vital for the productivity of a positive workplace. An environment with proper communication strategies creates an excellent base for business success. Some of the benefits to a workplace that result from effective communication include the fact that it helps to build trust, resolve issues, fosters better relationships, increases engagement, improves productivity, promotes team building, and provides clarity to matters to avoid confusion. On the other hand, workplace miscommunication hinders the success of an organization by preventing most of the benefits. Unfortunately, workplace miscommunication occurs in various forms and has become very prevalent in organizations today with consequences ranging from internal conflicts to employees dissatisfaction.
Miscommunication in organizations is caused by different factors which need to be identified and addressed for the success of the organization. One cause of miscommunication in the workplace is making assumptions whereby individuals ignore the actions of their colleagues, assuming that they know what to do (Jackson & van den Hooff, 2012). Conveyance of confusing body languages like gestures, facial expressions, and complicated postures may also send the wrong meaning, other than, the actual message to the recipient. Other employees cause miscommunication using brief messages that only contain the bare necessities. Even though the kind of communication is advisable, some individuals exaggerate it living the recipient to guess the intended message. Typing errors are other causes of miscommunication in the workplace. A typed letter may contain contradicting dates and times, incorrect links, or misspelled words that may not only confuse but also offend the recipient (Jackson & van den Hooff, 2012). Miscommunication caused by typing errors worsened with technological gadgets with auto-correct features.
Miscommunication in the workplace takes various forms. Examples of miscommunication in the workplace include blame games. Recent studies indicate that, in the event of a mistake arising from miscommunication, most individuals are unwilling to take the blame. The failure to acknowledge a miscommunication problem makes it difficult to avoid the error in future. The attitude of preferring to say nothing than being misinterpreted is another common form of miscommunication in the workplace. The failure to engage in conversation or communication is a form of miscommunication in itself (Holmes & Stubbe, 2015). Some employees might be in a position that could help avoid some fault, but they chose to remain silent for fear of being criticized. Recent studies further indicate that most employees view performance reviews as a waste of time. The studies indicated that failure to conduct performance reviews was a significant form of miscommunication in the workplace. The findings showed that performance reviews provide a platform for the management and the employee to bond and clarify issues, and thus creating a healthy environment for seeking clarifications.
Furthermore, miscommunications can also occur in the form of differences due to generation gaps where some older employees ignore directions from their younger seniors (Jackson & van den Hooff, 2012). As a result, they end up ignoring important information passed to them on the basis that their age gives them more experience and wisdom. Similarly, most older adults in the workplace disregard technology and are likely to commit mistakes when communicating using technological gadgets (Holmes & Stubbe, 2015).
Solutions to workplace communications include training employees and employers to avoid making assumptions, use non-verbal communications appropriately, and the recipient should seek clarification in case of doubt. Experts also advise employees to ensure that messages are not too concise to the extent of missing some critical information. When typing, employees are encouraged to proofread their work before sending out to other parties.
Holmes, J., & Stubbe, M. (2015). Power and politeness in the workplace: A sociolinguistic analysis of talk at work. Routledge.Jackson, T. W., & van den Hooff, B. (2012). Understanding the factors that effect information overload and miscommunication within the workplace. Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences, 3(8), 1240-1252.
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