Proper communication in the workplace is extremely important. It can prevent all kinds of misunderstandings, creates a happy work environment, and helps shape team individuals into a cohesive unit.
Many people work long hours with the same people each day. This greatly increases the probability of communication breakdowns, and small misunderstandings creating rifts throughout the whole environment.
Below are steps you can take as a team to foster proper communication with each other at work.
The first step toward effective communication is politeness:
- Greet your coworkers with a smile and a kind word each day. Starting work on a positive note will set the stage for a happy and productive day.
- Remember to say “please” and “thank you” when making requests or receiving help. This will make your teammates feel respected and appreciated.
- Listen when your coworkers speak to you. Be aware that hearing is not the same as really listening. You should be engaged in the conversation when speaking with any colleague.
- Be respectful. Showing respect to your teammates will open the door to proper communication between all of you.
- Use constructive feedback rather than always being critical. People who feel like nothing they do is right, will lose motivation and get discouraged. This leads to frustrated teammates and possibly their quitting—leaving the rest of the team short handed.
- Pay attention to other’s needs. If you see a coworker struggling with something, do not just ignore them. Offer to help. Make sure not to be condescending when doing this.
- Avoid “water cooler gossip.” No one appreciates being talked about behind their back—especially about personal issues. Do not participate in rumors, and keep business told to you in confidence to yourself. A team who does not trust each other, can never function to the best of its ability.
Being polite and respectful to each other paves the way for proper communication through larger issues. It will also facilitate smooth and united internal operations.
Despite best efforts, problems can and will arise… So how can you use effective communication to resolve them? Here are five steps to take and solve workplace issues.
- Calmly communicate the problem. Maybe a coworker missed a deadline, or made a rude comment… Big or small, addressing the problem as soon as possible in a respectful manner is the first step to resolution.
- Present a common goal. Whether it is learning to get along for the benefit of the team, or trying to complete a project together—a common goal needs to be communicated.
- Acknowledge any hurdles that block you from the goal. It is important to be honest with each other about what could keep you from the goal. Whatever the issue is, it is important to get it out in the open.
- Come up with a plan to get around the hurdles. Apologize and give each other clean slates if it is interpersonal; and if it is a professional problem, figure out the most efficient way to solve it. Maybe you need another team member, help from a supervisor, or a more specific thing… No matter what the case may be, working together to jump those hurdles will make the end result well worth it.
- Agree on your responsibilities and a set completion plan. Delegate. Make an agreement on how to complete and resolve the issue. Do not back out of this once you have settled on it. It is important that you are both able to trust each other to carry out this commitment.
In cases of communicating properly in multicultural work environments, knowledge and sensitivity is key. It is easy to misunderstand attitude and language when teammates have differing cultural perspectives. Employees should be coached on proper communication techniques for all situation.
In our open trainings, you will find a variety of training and coaching around the topic of communication. Don’t see your location? Please contact us, and we will create an individual offer to meet your needs!