When it comes to the workplace, communication is without a doubt one of the most important practices to master. While it may appear effortless on the outside, mastering the art of good communication is not always an easy task and often requires hard work and dedication. Developing this soft skill brings major benefits to the workplace. Good communication strengthens trust, teamwork, and efficiency in any workplace setting. Here we will be going through the major ways in which communication affects relationships at work, the negative consequences of bad communication, and the different ways you can improve your and your team’s communication skills to ensure that effective communication occurs in business.
What is effective workplace communication?
The essence of good communication is the effective transmission of ideas between people. There are many different forms through which this can take place, and all are valuable in their own right. Communicating in the workplace involves a mix of face-to-face interactions, written correspondence, and team coordination. Within these formats, the purpose of workplace communication is broad and varied in nature. The manner in which this is harnessed has major repercussions on the working relationship that exists within the business.
Some of the most important examples of communication in the workplace include:
– Feedback and constructive criticism
Receiving feedback in the workplace is critical for meaningful development and growth in performance. Without feedback, issues never get addressed and may, in fact, grow in the absence of correction. Often, people may feel too embarrassed or uncomfortable to call out their colleagues on their mistakes, which is a critical hindrance to effective business communication. In the workplace, it’s vital to put aside personal qualms and voice any concerns or criticisms that arise. Of course, all feedback and criticism should be constructive in nature in order to be received accurately.
Constructive criticism refers to feedback that is solution-oriented, as opposed to merely critical for the sake of criticism. To be constructive requires offering solutions and suggestions in place of whatever error is present. Well-thought-out constructive criticism delivered with clarity and tact is one of the most powerful forms of communication that workers can use to improve their work.
– Praise and positive reinforcement
Just as it’s important to call colleagues out on the areas in which their ideas can be critiqued or improved, it’s equally important to give positive feedback in order to reinforce good ideas and strategies towards working. Unfortunately, it’s all too common that the focus of feedback is entirely negative, and many employees go a whole tenure without receiving any praise or encouragement. It’s important for managers and team members to improve the employee experience and build strong working relationships by making sure that employees understand that their efforts are noticed and if they have a good idea that it is appreciated. Creating an environment that fosters positive reinforcement is shown to have a really positive effect on morale and boost employee engagement to a significant degree.
– Cohesive company identity
In any large or small business, it’s critical that there is a cohesive sense of company identity that is shared by the entire team. Having a shared brand or corporate identity allows the workers to shape their efforts in a common direction. Ultimately, cultivating this shared sense of identity creates a far stronger message when it comes to the ethos and overall goals of the company. Especially in the early stages of developing an enterprise, communicating the identity of the company is particularly pertinent, as it can have a major impact on the future of the establishment. This information should be communicated to employees upon onboarding and be regularly kept up to date with corporate identity building exercises.
– Offering instructions and delineating tasks
The most critical aspect of communication for a manager is to transmit information to the rest of the employees and control who is charged with what task. In order to do this, managers need to have a great oversight of all of their employees’ individual skills and make decisions about who is best suited to which task. In order to make sure that these tasks are being delineated effectively to the right person, managers need to put a lot of effort into ensuring strong communication. Many managers use content management systems, or CMSs, as an effective way of keeping track of all their colleagues’ work and deadlines. These systems are an effective way to communicate who must do what and make sure no tasks slip through the cracks and end up causing problems and having a negative effect on productivity.
– General communication
The impact of how communication affects relationships at work is also heavily dependent on the general communication that takes place between members of the workplace. Effective communication needs to take place on every individual level of the company structure, as well as the transmission of information between these different levels. Effective working relationships with clear, polite, and well-organised communication between personnel lie at the heart of a sustainable and profitable business model.
In order to positively affect communication at work, businesses can harness the following tools and advice:
– Regular meetings and video conferences
Especially for staff who work from home, regular meetings form a critical aspect of communication. Keeping in touch and having regular contact with fellow staff is an absolute must to ensure that everybody is up to date and on the same page regarding the status of projects. Holding regular meetings, or even just having a quick call every day, creates a strong rapport between a business’s staff and helps to build trust, reliability, and momentum in the work they produce. Without these regular points of contact, it’s all too easy for staff to feel out of touch and ultimately see their work ethic falter. Even simple actions such as regular phone calls can have hugely positive repercussions.
– Non–verbal elements of communication
It’s a well-known fact that a significant portion of what counts as communication is non-verbal conversation and not based on language. Tone, approach, and body language all play a huge role in deciding how a message is ultimately received. Managers and staff alike should invest a concentrated effort to improve communication through the implementation of better non-verbal cues. Even the smallest changes, such as smiling, nodding, or maintaining eye contact to show that you’re listening can warrant major improvements in morale and encourage personnel to be more receptive. Developing these soft skills among the staff ultimately brings a much greater degree of professionalism to a company and increases the likelihood of success down the line.
This guide to the importance of communication in the workplace was authored by Justin Lambert, an expert in corporate psychology. He currently works as a tutor and writer at PapersOwl.com, and there shares his expertise. Coming from a background in both business studies and psychology, Justin has been writing for several decades on the best practices, tips, and tricks for guaranteeing entrepreneurial success.