A workplace survey indicated that 85% of people had experienced some conflict in their working environments. The participants also admitted that these misunderstandings were often clear indications of error and confusion. Unfortunately, unresolved workplace issues can metamorphose into something that affects productivity and team cohesion. Therefore, you may want to take note of these pointers to avoid falling victim to them.
1. Confirm important issues in writing
Communication is a two-way affair, and the problem usually lies in one party not expressing themselves properly or the other person failing to understand what was said. Thankfully, experts say, confirming critical issues in writing, email, or text can decrease or eliminate the chances of misunderstandings. This strategy is important, especially after team meetings or performance reviews. It explains why businesses see it crucial to record minutes at these meetings. Some companies go to the extent of supporting their staff to take STL Learning courses. The objective is to avoid being misquoted or accused of saying something you did not.
Having written confirmation of what you communicated earlier can become a guideline for others to follow. You can use this technique when you need your team members or employees to follow a set of instructions related to work. Doing this institutes clarification and becomes evidence for what was communicated earlier. More importantly, your team can use that written or typed confirmation as a visual reminder of things expected of them.
2. Be an active listener
Communication goes beyond what you say orally or the things you write down. Active listening is a critical communication component, and you cannot afford to go without it. It is normal to have employees present complaints, provide feedback, or seek some other interaction with the employer in the office setting. The truth is, the people you work with will feel more comfortable when they notice that you actually listen to the things they say.
So, how can you prove yourself as an active listener? First, you can establish eye contact with the workers in question. You will find it helpful not to interrupt their submissions or interactions with you. In addition to listening to what they say, it is also advisable to observe non-verbal cues. This is essential, especially when dealing with an employee withholding a crucial piece of information. It is worth noting that communication is verbal and non-verbal. Taking the time to focus on your employees and listening to them can create a healthy working relationship. While at it, offering solutions or resolving their grievances can also be interpreted as having active listening skills.
3. Avoid depending totally on third-party information
If you rely on third-party information all the time, you could be setting the grounds for major misunderstanding. Third-party information can be laden with alterations, emotions, and inconsistencies in many cases. This is not to say that you should ignore or overlook every piece of third-party information at the workplace. Some of them could be whistle-blowers that provide insight into your employees’ work activities.
Instead, you can encourage an environment where workers can provide information without fear of victimization. What happens after that will depend on how well you manage that third-party information. For instance, instead of acting out on what you heard, it would be better to conduct a thorough investigation to discover the truth yourself. Furthermore, if you encourage your employees to seek information from credible sources like H.R., you can reduce the risk of staff turning to each other for information. It is always better to seek information from the source than to rely solely on third parties who may become conduits for office misunderstandings.
4. Stick to the key points when communicating
Sticking to the main points in your submissions will help you avoid deviating from the topic. By being clear and concise, you can avoid ambiguity and the likelihood of your staff misunderstanding what you communicated. Many times, people veer off from the main topic and wander into unrelated discussions.
If you’re not an avid communicator, you may find it difficult to balance the two. However, an experienced communicator can weave in and out unrelated topics without affecting the main discussion. To be on the safer side, stick to only the key points while leaving irrelevant details out.
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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