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4 Communication Problems — and 4 Strategies to Solve Them



Teams with effective communication skills can brainstorm, collaborate, and empathize with one another within healthy, productive relationships.

Effective communication is an essential ingredient for the success of any individual or organization, but it doesn’t come naturally. Rather, good communication skills need to be learned.

The cost of poor communication is high — both financially and relationally. Due to increased confusion, conflict, and loss of productivity, miscommunication damages relationships, cultures, retention rates, and bottom lines.

In fact, Expert Market reports that “86% of corporate executives, educators, and employees cite ineffective communication and poor collaboration as reasons for failures in the workplace.”

While poor communication leads to break downs, good communication builds up and encourages success. Teams with effective communication skills can brainstorm, collaborate, and empathize with one another within healthy, productive relationships.

Below are four common communication problems — and four strategies to solve them.

Communication Problem #1: Unclear Expectations

When those in leadership roles fail to communicate clear expectations, staff stress and anxiety is the result.

This article on the number one management mistake tells us that “those who report unclear expectations at work also report higher daily worry, stress, anxiety, and loneliness, [but] those who say they have clear expectations at work are 26% more likely to be thriving in their overall lives.”

The article goes on to explain how clear expectations are an employee's most fundamental need, and managers should do the following to alleviate stress, improve retention, and increase productivity:

  • Set clear goals
  • Provide adequate resources
  • Lead collaborative goal setting
  • Nurture collective intelligence

Communication Problem #2: Micromanagement

Micromanagement destroys teams, with one survey revealing that “a staggering 79% of people said they had experienced micromanagement in the workplace, and 69% said they were considering leaving their job because of it. What's more, 85% of people stated micromanagement was negatively impacting their morale.”

If leadership dictates every task and movement of their staff it will lead to burnout for everyone on a team — leadership included. Hire well, set clear expectations, and provide adequate resources. Then step back and trust your team to do the work they were hired to do, making it clear you are always there to support them as needed.

Communication Problem #3: Information Overload

In a time of unprecedented access to information, information overload is common. Additionally, with the increase in remote and hybrid work, many teams are utilizing too many digital communication tools.

If you want to prevent information overload, there must be clear standards about what digital means of communication your company uses. A company-wide policy may make sense,

depending on the size of your organization. Otherwise, it may be appropriate to allow team by team or department by department to decide among themselves what digital tools they’ll utilize.

This will also cut back on what is called “rogue IT”: Unsanctioned information technology being used within an organization. Rogue IT not only contributes to information overload but can be a waste of financial resources and an open door to security issues.

Communication Problem #4: Quality of Written Communication

With the role technology plays in our lives today, in some ways we are reading and writing more than ever. A text instead of a phone call. A virtual chat instead of a walk down the hall. An email thread instead of a meeting.

Organizations also communicate through writing to external audiences on a very regular basis: Newsletters, emails, mailings, social media posts, white papers, e-books, advertisements, and more.

The trouble is the ease and regularity of written communication in our lives leads to a relaxed manner of writing, one that is full of errors and miscommunication. Indeed’s Editorial Team recommends that you “ensure your copy is well-written and free of grammatical errors. Let other team members read all written correspondences before sending them [because] allowing others to check your work increases the chances of finding and correcting even the smallest errors.”

Having “all” of your written correspondence reviewed before sending is probably not practical. Still, take the time to decide what written communication must always be reviewed and make that a priority.

Improving Communication Will Improve Collaboration

Effective communication is critical to the collaboration needed of successful teams. In addition to tackling the above four problems, we encourage you to schedule one of our Communication Workshops.

At True Colors, we’ll first help individuals recognize their own way of communicating and then teach them how to appreciate the different communication styles of others. This is key to building communication skills, enhancing collaboration, and decreasing conflict. We’re passionate about improving communication and know you will be too once you see the positive results.

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