Communication is important in any organization but what exactly is communication. As defined by Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, communication is the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or the express your ideas, thoughts, or feelings to someone else. It seems pretty simple but many employees note communication as a major barrier in their workplace. How can we improve communication in the workplace? It’s no easy task and the entire team must take ownership of improving communication.
Communication is instrumental in any relationship.
Communication is not only discussing and conversing but its body language, eye contact, and other non-verbal signs that one must read. This can be challenging unless you can read minds, and quite honestly that still probably wouldn’t be helpful. The entire team must be engaged and understand one another. It takes listening and interpreting what someone else says. Communication is listening to the unsaid word and interpreting how to respond. Body language plays the biggest role in face-to-face communication followed by voice inflection (tone) and then the actual spoken words. By actively listening, you must pay attention to all three of these things, body language, tone, and the actual spoken words, in order to connect with someone.
Think of a really good relationship you have in your life. Think of why the relationship is good. I bet many of the reasons the relationship is good can be lead back to good communication. You have an investment in this person and you care about what they say, feel, and think, and the feelings are mutual. When there are issues or problems, you share with them and talk through them finding a solution. During a celebration, you share with them in the joy. It goes back to trust. That’s behind the strong communication. Building trust results in good communication, because you can be open and honest with the person. It’s also easier to communicate problems when you have built that trust.
In the workplace, look at the departments and teams trying to work together. Have they built up trust? Determine what steps you must take to start to build or enhance that trust between employees. Holding meetings about the direction of the company, what the future holds, and how each employee is going to play into the future can go a long way with employees. If you ask your subordinates and employees how they would like to be communicated with, they will give you some great ideas. You just have to be willing to listen. Are you listening? Really?