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7 Common Communication Blunders and How to Avoid Them

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7 Common Communication Blunders and How to Avoid Them

A large part of running a business successfully concerns technical issues and having efficient systems in place. This eventually becomes part of your routine and mostly it all runs like clockwork. But there’s more to business than operations and processes. Are you having issues dealing with your staff? If so, it could be rooted in how you and your staff communicate. To boost employee morale and increase your standing as an employer or manager this is something you might need to work on, in the interests of good workplace relations.

If you don’t express yourself well and in an appropriate manner, your communications can be misinterpreted. In a worst case scenario, it can cause resentment and hurt feelings. The end result could be that damage is done to your business, through loss of productivity among other things. Inc has listed seven things to avoid when communicating with your employees:

  1. Negativity
  2. Complaining
  3. Being judgemental
  4. Making excuses
  5. Exaggerating
  6. Confusing opinions and facts
  7. Gossip

Negativity and Complaining

Sometimes it’s appropriate to complain about an employee’s actions or performance. Everyone slips up and sometimes tasks won’t be carried out to your satisfaction. But if you are constantly complaining then you might get a reputation for being impossible to please. This creates the perception that whatever staff do won’t be good enough for you.

An atmosphere of negativity can turn the best of employees into disillusioned, unhappy workers who want out. High staff turnover is expensive for a business. For the health of your staff and your business, try to ditch the negativity and promote an environment characterised by positive energy.

Don’t be Judgemental

You can be in the right without being judgemental. Don’t jump to conclusions about the person you’re dealing with simply being wrong, and don’t assume you know the reasons why they’ve made an error or slipped up. Give them a chance to give their views and their perspective on the problem before you rush to judgement. Focus on how to improve in the future and explain where the work fell short of expectations. You should aim to avoid conflict by giving constructive criticism.

There’s another benefit for you in this approach. If you dive in and insist you’re right thenyou don’t look good if it turns out you weren’t right, or didn’t fully grasp the situation. If you can’t back up your assessments with facts, or show that you don’t have a full understanding of the problem and aren’t interested in finding out more, then eventually you won’t be taken seriously. Professionalism means being in full possession of the facts and making sure there are good channels of communication between you and your staff, unless you want to undermine workplace morale.

Excuses, Excuses

When mistakes happen there’s usually a context and that is often relevant when moving forward. But there’s a thin line between exploring the context in which lapses occur and making excuses. Managers, bosses and employees all need to appreciate the difference. Admitting that a mistake has been made is the way to go. Blaming everyone and everything else doesn’t help. It’s important to get the balance right.

Don’t Exaggerate

Hyperbole is when you overstate your case, sometimes to the point where it’s barely true. For example, if you say something has to be treated as an emergency, when in fact there’s a week available to do it in, is an exaggeration that borders on untruth. You might say this in order to emphasize the urgency of the task in hand and as a motivational tool, but when staff realize it’s not actually the case, it does nothing for your credibility. Even worse, if a real emergency occurs, staff might raise their eyebrows and not believe you. It’s the classic story of the boy who cried wolf. Don’t risk it.

You need to trust your team to get things done on schedule. Make it clear that they are accountable for on-time delivery but also try to be flexible if possible. Rushed jobs lead to poor quality work so make sure you set reasonable deadlines.

Workplace Gossip

Gossip and rumors can create a toxic work environment. People will always talk about other people, but chat that is based on supposition and whispers can ruin reputations, impact mental health and poison workplace relations. If rumors about individuals run rampant there can be bad consequences. People in positions of authority should always resist listening to or spreading gossip and remember where the line lies between friendly boss and workplace buddy.

These basic principles are the foundation of good communication and good workplace relations in any business environment.

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