The effects of poor communication on your organisation

We all know that communication is the cornerstone to any successful business; it is the glue which holds it together.

An organisation can be a very challenging place to create effective communication, with many having multiple teams, people with different cultures and managers with differing views on communication. More often than ever, teams and team members are working remotely through the use of technology meaning that effective face to face communication is limited and a heavy reliance on email is required.

Effective communication should start from the top down, with the senior management team setting in play a system whereby clear and efficient communication is at the core. A breakdown in communication manifests itself in several negative ways.

Goals

Setting achievable targets or goals is crucial. If the communication of your people’s goals is not clearly explained to them, how are they expected to achieve them? Ineffective communication is common reason why goals are not being met. When people are aware of what they are required to do and the potential rewards this helps to motivate and engage them to work to their best ability, whilst focusing their energy in the right direction. It’s not only individual goals which this applies to; not communicating organisation-wide aims and objectives will results in the business as a whole being unable to effectively accomplish its targets.

Errors

In many cases, mistakes made by employees are not as a result of them deliberately doing something wrong, but in fact is a result of a misunderstanding of their task. This is another example of how poor communication can negatively affect performance. Instructions, processes or  guidelines must be clear and specific, whether delivered in writing or verbally. Employees should always feel that they are able to have open communication with their managers if they do not understand something so that errors can be avoided.

Unhappy Clients

Bad communication can result in deadlines being missed. For example, assurances that your clients have been given by your sales team not being realised due to communication breakdowns between supporting teams. If there is bad communication between the different departments within an organisation, it often affects both the organisation and its customers. Clients want smooth and efficient business dealings, therefore if an organisation has to repeatedly ask them similar questions, or they are not able to fulfil what was agreed upon, the relationship will inevitably suffer. This will impact the bottom line, with clients looking to take their future business elsewhere and, in some cases, legal action can be taken for not fulfilling an obligation. It does not take long for word to spread about bad practises within an industry, resulting in loss of reputation and future earnings.

Poor Relationships

Strong relationships that have been built up over a period of time can be ruined by poor communication. A manager that, instead of asking why a project has been delayed, expresses themselves in such a way as to accuse their team of not fulfilling their roles will immediately cause a negative impact on working relationships. This cause result in creating a sense of hostility or fear when those individuals are around their manager, causing tension within the team. This is not a conducive environment for good productivity. Employees should always feel they are valued and understood. Anything that potentially closes off avenues to open dialog should be discouraged at all costs.

 

These are just some of the consequences of poor communication within an organisation. Bad communication will not only impact the organisation internally, but it spreads externally to effect clients too. Good communication skills should be a priority, starting with management and cascading throughout the organisation. Avoiding bad communication can be as simple as being open and honest with all people within the organisation, as well as being clear when communicating goals or targets. Good communication skills are something that, when invested in, can increase productivity, improve moral within the organisation and create competitive advantage.