Every day, I hear about ineffective workplace communication. This consistent and persistent workplace issue hits every type of company, industry, position and person in the company. At some point, you will encounter workplace communication challenges.
Ineffective workplace communication boggles my mind! We’ve been communicating with each other for thousands of years, when do we finally learn to communicate effectively to each other? When do finally learn to understand one another, give each other some slack and seek to truly trust and connect with the other people on the team?
I’ll say it a thousand times over, I think it starts with the individual recognizing their part of communicating and seeking to do their best to connect with other individuals on the team. Personal responsibility is key to improving workplace communication. If each person isn’t invested in having effective conversations, then workplace communication will continue to have it’s challenges.
You might be thinking to yourself: “Yeah, but Jen, it’s them. They don’t communicate with me. He doesn’t listen. She doesn’t make herself available. I’m trying to communicate, but they aren’t communicating with me.”
While I get that it might seem that others don’t communicate with you and you’re frustrated with that lack of communication, I want you to understand that you won’t ever be able to dictate how they do (or do not) communicate with you. You can’t control it because that person will have their own point-of-view and opinions and will determine how they want to communicate.
I remember once hearing a professional say, “I don’t care what they think of me. I’m going to say what I want to say, when I want to say, and how I want to say it!”
My face literally cringed. (Which is saying something because I have a pretty good poker face.)
But, over time that person came to understand what they were doing and how it was impacting people around him. It takes time to help your peers realize how they’re ineffectively (AND effectively) communicating. Find a way to build a relationship with the person where you can earn the right to give them feedback about their communication. The best way you can earn the right is by asking for feedback for your own communication skills.
Start with yourself. Start with your own personal responsibility. Be a good example and go from there. You may occasionally mess up, but at least you’ll be seen as someone who is easily coached and others will appreciate it.