Workplace Miscommunication: 5 Main Causes of Workplace Miscommunication
Words are both the cause of misunderstandings and a tool for communication, which is the cornerstone of any fruitful partnership, even in the workplace.
The United Kingdom loses 2.7 billion pounds annually, and the cause is poor workplace communication. When new employees join the company, they are not informed of the health and other benefits, which prompts them to look for new employment opportunities elsewhere.
Effective communication is essential for a productive workplace, and according to statistics, when team members communicate effectively, their productivity may increase by 25%.
Other surveys showed that over 70% of 2000 office workers experienced some form of unclear communication from their coworkers, leading to a waste of time and resources. By making effective communication, we can avoid any conflicts and maintain peace in the workplace.
Here I have put together a list of causes for Miscommunication in the workplace.
What is Workplace Miscommunication?
Coworkers unable to communicate effectively fail to grasp the purpose and significance of the message being sent to them, which leads to Miscommunication in the workplace. This can lead to internal conflict and employee dissatisfaction.
Miscommunication frequently occurs at work, according to a survey, which found that 80% of workers believe it happens occasionally or very frequently. It becomes difficult to solve workplace conflicts. When managers reach out to solve disputes between employees, more than 50% say that they have never or rarely been involved in a workplace miscommunication.
You might think, “Is it a big deal to solve workplace miscommunication?”.The answer is yes, as the price is too high due to a Lack of communication.
What is the Price of Miscommunication in the workplace?
The cost of Miscommunication at the workplace is huge, as Miscommunication has delayed project completion or has brought about failure.
Miscommunication in the workplace has also led to the loss of sales, and these sales are valued between 5 million US Dollars to 10 million dollars.
It is estimated that an organization with 100 employees is expected to lose almost half a million dollars annually due to Miscommunication and misunderstandings.
Besides the financial loss, Miscommunication takes a toll on the employees’ health. Miscommunication leads to misunderstandings which can increase stress levels and lower the morale of an employee.
Main Causes of Workplace Miscommunication
1. Poor leadership
Let’s face it, the main cause of Miscommunication in the workplace is poor leadership. It does not matter if you have a well-established business, as it will fail if the manager in an organization cannot resolve any miscommunication at the workplace.
Since effective downward communication starts with the managers, it is their job to motivate their staff to be more productive and creative.
Suppose there is a lack of downward communication, and the manager cannot communicate the valuable information the higher-ups share with the employees. In that case, the company’s objectives might become unclear to the employees, which can demoralize them.
When the employees are treated as a part of the company rather than like freelancers, it helps them feel connected with the company’s mission.
2. Inappropriate medium choices
We live in an era of communication, and dozens of different communication mediums are available to us to connect with everyone around the world. Unfortunately, on many platforms, inappropriate medium choices are also made.
Let us assume that you have to update the project status for your 10 members. Instead of having a common meeting with them at a particular time, you decide to send 10 individual messages to them via text message. This might waste your time and create confusion among the team members, as only a few of them would understand the message while others wouldn’t.
Have a definite platform to convey your message to other members so that there are no doubts left at the end of the discussion.
3. Passive aggression
Passive aggression communications are more common in hostile workplaces where the employees can’t overtly criticize or express concerns about each other but are still motivated to make their feelings apparent. Such exchanges are mostly counterproductive, rude, unclear, and also intimidating.
The only solution to avoid passive aggression is to create an environment where employees feel free to express their thoughts, ideas and concerns openly and respectively.
4. Under Communication
Under Communication happens when you do not have enough information about a project or any other vital component of business, leading employees to assume what is going on. Under-communication also leads to misunderstandings between coworkers, which could easily have been avoided.
Many employees work in multiple time zones. Thus, it becomes important to state when a meeting will occur explicitly.
5. Different communication styles across generations
The most common causes of miscommunication in the workplace are differences in communication styles. Many companies have multigenerational environments, which creates a generational gap.
Different generations prefer different communication channels, and they also communicate differently.
Generations such as millennials and Gen Z use emojis and slang, even in professional settings, where other generations avoid them.
This can lead to misunderstandings among these generations, directly harming business.
Differences in communication style, the generation gap, poor leadership, and a lack of awareness about cultural diversity Confusing body language and under communication can lead to miscommunication and spoil everything.
It takes at least two people to communicate, and there is no use in passing the blame. To remove miscommunication from the workplace, we have to make sure that we recognize it first. We, as employees, should do our best to make sure that we communicate the idea clearly to another individual.