Unless you have no employees, clients, or suppliers, effective communication is always the key to a productive workplace. Communication takes place on a number of different levels, from verbal exchanges to non-verbal body language, and most of us are finely tuned to the messages given out by our colleagues on a daily basis. But why is communication important in the workplace and how can we ensure our communication skills are effective?
If people fail to communicate effectively in the workplace it can cause all kinds of problems. Productivity falls and the workplace atmosphere degenerates into one of mistrust and stress. But whilst effective communication between individual employees is important, effective internal communication between management and employees, plus the external communication between the company and its clients and suppliers, is also very important.
Why is communication important in the workplace and where does it often go wrong?
Ineffectual communication leads to misunderstandings, conflict, misinformation and a fall in performance across the board. Employees and managers soon become frustrated and before long you have a major problem. Unfortunately, these types of communication problem are not uncommon and they are usually down to several reasons.
Gossip is a major communication issue in any workplace and employees (and sometimes management) who indulge in idle gossip about their co-workers can cause irreparable damage. The subject of the gossip will be angry and everybody else will be distracted from their work thanks to the juicy topics of conversation doing the rounds.
Sarcastic and flippant remarks are another example of poor communication in the workplace. Making sarcastic remarks to fellow co-workers or employees is likely to cause a build up of resentment and anger over time, which will lead to a loss of productivity. The same can also be said of crude and offensive remarks.
Angry outbursts and tantrums could be classed as poor communication. Instead of finding a healthy way of dealing with a stressful situation in the workplace, some managers or employees react by lashing out at their co-workers. Not only does this fail to address the original problem, it also causes resentment and upset in those forced to bear the brunt of the angry tirade.
On a more general level, managers who are simply very bad at communicating their requirements are just as destructive to productivity and employee morale. Poor communication skills can cause employees to focus their attention on the wrong task, or worse still, fail to deliver an important task on time due to ineffective instructions.
Understanding why communication is important in the workplace is the basis of effective management skills. A good manager must be able to communicate their ideas in such a way so that the employee has a clear understanding of what is required of them. Effective communication will help the employee do their job properly.
But whilst effective verbal communication is very important, it is important that you do not underestimate the benefits of effective non verbal communication: confident body language and non verbal communication skills can make a huge difference to effective management in the workplace