Workplace Communication Frustrations Communications failure is one of the top problems contributing to workplace unhappiness. It’s a big topic, so we’ll be addressing it several times this year. The first thing to do is divide your communication frustrations into different buckets (make a chart if you need to):
- Companywide Communication or Messages from Big Bosses
- Communication with Other Departments and Colleagues
- Your Communications Within the Company
Companywide Communication or Big Bosses
Things happen fast in today’s work environment. Even if your company wants to tell you their vision for the future, in most cases it’s a guess at best. If you work for a large company, it might help for you to set up Google Alerts with your company name and your CEO and CFO’s name so you’ll hear what the business world is saying about your company. But always consider the source. Sometimes the information you get will be right and other times it’ll be wrong. If your company has an annual report, read it. That will let you know the vision upper management is sharing with the stockholders. If your company has earnings calls, listen to the replay.
You can’t control this communication so it’s best to try to stay informed about your company and industry. But in the big picture you have to put it on your uncontrollable list.
Communication with Other Departments and Colleagues
Remember when we discussed networking a couple of weeks ago. One of the reasons it’s good to network with other departments is that if you have friends in the departments you work with they will be your allies and will try to help you. They may even keep you informed about changes that might impact your team or group. The bigger the company, the harder this is to do. Inevitably some department will change a procedure or requirement that impacts you or your customers and won’t communicate it. But it will happen less if you’re friendly with the people in the departments that impact your job the most.
Your Communications Within the Company
The only thing you have complete control over is how you communicate with your co-workers.
- Communicate clearly and professionally with your team or other departments.
- Ask if something you explained in an email makes sense. When we’re communicating electronically, we don’t see the non-verbal communication of someone who doesn’t understand what we are emailing about.
- Consider picking up the phone for a quick call instead of sending countless emails to resolve an issue. This is also great networking and at the very least it attaches a name with a voice.
- Listen to the response of others.
Also, many companies claim to have “open door” policies. While they may want your feedback, they don’t want you to complain constantly. If you have a concern, consider presenting it with a solution. Some companies or managers really don’t want your feedback regardless of what they claim. So be careful how you communicate your frustrations. Often companies do yearly surveys and sometimes that’s the best time to convey concerns and even possible solutions. Communication is something that ebbs, flows and changes. We’ll always be adjusting to the people we need to communicate with to do our jobs. It’s a reminder change is constant.