For business owners, communication is extremely important. The root of many issues in a company can be traced back to a lack of communication or misunderstanding.
No one in your business is a mind reader, including you, therefore clear and effective communication must exist in order for a company to function smoothly.
Why is Communication So Difficult?
It is definitely easier said than done. It seems like a simple fix. Your business has communication problems? Everyone should just start speaking up more–problem solved!
But, the truth is that everyone has a different personality type, therefore, everyone has different reasons for not communicating something.
Reasons For Poor Communication
- Natural forgetfulness – Some personalities tend to be more forgetful than others, however, we can all let things slip our minds from time to time. When things are left unsaid, whether by accident or not, it can cause communication issues.
- Stress or anxiety – For your employee, the thought of sitting down face-to-face and communicating something may be terrifying to them. They may fear your reaction, the attention the conversation would bring to them, or they may simply fear seeming inadequate. If they worry that asking a question or expressing their lack of understanding about something is a sign of weakness, they may choose to not start a conversation that would be beneficial to have.
- It’s not a big deal – At times, it can seem easier to shove something under the rug and not communicate. However, no matter the subject of the conversation, pretending it isn’t important enough to talk about is not wise. Those types of things bottle up and can negatively affect you, the employee and/or other business relationships.
- Things are under control – Your employees may feel as if they have everything under control at work and don’t need to communicate details–so they don’t. While they may have things under control, they must be informed of the importance and benefits of team communication.
- Miscommunication – You might think you’re communicating effectively and clearly, however, your employee may not fully grasp the intent or purpose behind your instruction. If this is not understood, they may carry out your task, but not in the way you expected.
Improve Your Company’s Communication in 3 Steps
- Make Yourself Approachable. As the business leader, it starts with you. You have to set the example of communication and also make yourself approachable. If you do not seem approachable, your employees will avoid as much communication with you as they possibly can. Let your employees know that you are available if they have questions or concerns. Let them know that it is okay if they’re confused and that it’s better for them to ask questions rather than wasting time trying to stress and figure something out by themselves that they’re confused about.
- Create a Process. Use a tool, or multiple tools, to make it easier to communicate. We have a project-managing tool called Basecamp, which allows us to organize projects and send messages to others in the team about our progress or ask questions. You can use email, DropBox, Excel spreadsheets, physical check lists, Evernote. Whatever tools you use, come up with a clear process for how things should be communicated. There should be step-by-step guidelines or directions of how to inform your team of your progress.
- Be Clear. Communicate to your employees the details of your expectations. When you’re delegating a task to your employee, ensure that they fully understand what they’re to do. To minimize confusion, you can ask them to repeat to you what they’re going to do. It is better to be too clear than not clear enough. This will increase efficiency and improve communication as a whole.
Be patient and remember that communication is so important. It affects your success, employee moral, client happiness, the flow of your workday, therefore spending time on it is vital. It is worth taking the time to sit down, evaluate your company’s communication, see where there is room for improvement and make a plan.