Fostering healthy communication in your work environment is one of the key ways that you can make your office more harmonious and productive, but what happens when you have to work alongside a bad communicator?
Fortunately, there are ways that you can identify bad communicators and set yourself and your team up for good communication in the future.
Make Sure That You Aren’t The Problem
You might think that the other person is clearly the problem, but this could be simply a matter of your perspective. There’s a chance that the problem could be you. If nobody else on your team or in the company seems to have a problem with this person’s communication style, it’s essential to look at yourself.
Additionally, you could be a problem if there are many people on your team that you have trouble communicating with. Usually, if you are the common denominator, or if you seem to be the only person with an issue, you could be the problem.
Learn What Constitutes Bad Communication
The following section is mostly for management; also, individuals can use these tips as well.
To determine what constitutes poor communication, you have to take a few things into account. Of course, there are plenty of specific examples of bad communication, and these are just a few of them. If you spot these situations, you could have someone who communicates poorly on your hands.
If your different teams don’t trust each other, or if there is a single individual that many people on your team or groups try to avoid, they could be the bad communicator. Listen to other employees’ complaints and look for words and phrases like “difficult to work with” or “doesn’t listen.”
If you get a lot of complaints about one person, it’s time to intervene, even if the person who is being complained about seems like a model employee. Often, people act differently around their managers versus their colleagues.
If you are constantly getting subpar work, or the finished project is not what you asked for, you could be dealing with a bad communicator or a chain of poor communications in your company. If that happens, you should look at how things are being delegated and reported and make adjustments as needed.
Understand How to Be A Good Communicator
Understanding how to be a great communicator can also help you to excel within your workplace. Even if your communication style is reasonably good, it can still usually be improved. Taking the time to ensure that you are communicating correctly with everyone on your team can help to offset the influence of bad communicators and foster a healthier and happier work environment.
If you’re a manager, it’s even more important to be a good communicator, as it helps to create an environment where all of your employees feel heard and valued. This will increase morale and help you retain quality employees as well as increase their productivity in most cases.
Embrace Continual Learning
One of the best things that you can do to be a more effective communicator is to embrace continual learning. Read articles about communication, listen to TED Talks to improve your body language, and learn about different communication styles. All of this will help you when it comes time to diffuse a challenging situation, and you might even learn something about yourself in the process.
Prioritize Listening Before Reacting
Those who listen before they react tend to be much better communicators than those who simply respond to situations without giving them too much thought. Excellent communication often happens most when you don’t actually say anything. Most of the time, we want to use any excuse in the book to talk about ourselves, especially when there’s a conflict at work. Resist the urge to try to defend yourself, and instead, listen to the other person before jumping in.
Be Direct and Clear
Good communicators are ones that are direct and clear at all times. Don’t beat around the bush or anticipate that people will be able to know what you want from vague directions. Nobody is a mindreader, which means the more direct you are with what you need, the more likely you are to find that it gets done right the first time.
This is true for team efforts as well. Make sure that everyone on your team knows what their job is and what’s expected of them on which timeline. This will allow you to function smoothly and eliminate unnecessary bumps in the road.
Understand Different Communication Styles
There are many different communication styles out there, so it’s important to know what sort of person that you are communicating with in order to be effective. Some people need small talk to ease into communication at work, whereas others prefer that you cut right to the chase. There are some people who are concerned with details, whereas others are “big picture” people.
Managers should know the communication style makeup of their teams and tailor one-on-one communication accordingly. If you are working alongside someone with a different style on a lateral level, try to think about how their personality and communication method factors into your workplace relationship and act accordingly.
Consider Taking A Communication Style Test
There are plenty of communication style tests that you can take to determine what sort of communication personality you have.
Generally speaking, there are a few different types of communicators, including those who are more direct, people who prefer a personal touch, detail-oriented workers, and people looking for some positive acceptance and affirmation.
If you can determine which style you are in, you might be able to figure out how to work better with others on your team.
Bad communicators can certainly hamper productivity and cause significant problems in the workplace. Fortunately, there are some excellent ways that you can work alongside, for, and managing, a bad communicator. Making sure that your communication skills are top-notch is one big part of the puzzle.