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6 Powerful Ways to Solve Communication Problems at Work

Aug 18, 2007
Is your organization suffering from severe communication problems? Someone once said that "communication is the lifeblood of an organization" - and it truly is. An organization that is experiencing a breakdown in communication will not live for very long because many problems will crop up and eventually cause the organization to die a natural death.

If your organization is experiencing communication problems, you must do what you can to resolve these as soon as possible. The life of your organization is at stake.

How do you know if your organization is experiencing communication problems? There are 12 possible signs that you should look out for:

1) You find it hard to get some people to cooperate.

2) Some people are being left out of the communication
loop.

3) Replies to messages are being delayed or completely
ignored.

4) Groups in the organization are failing to reach their goals.

5) Mistakes are cropping up more and more often.

6) People are resorting more to criticism and placing the blame on other people.

7) Morale of teams is going down.

8) Productivity is dull or at zero level.

9) You receive many complaints.

10) Moments of conflict result in expressions of anger.

11) There is significant employee turnover.

12) Business is going to your competitors instead of
to you.

If you find that there are some or many (if not all) of these warning signs present in your organization, it is advisable for you to take steps to address such problems before they kill your organization.

How does one correct or resolve such problems? There are different steps to take to counter the prevalence of communication problems in organizations.

1) First, listen to the people involved or who have caused the communication problem in the first place. Doing so allows you to uncover the depth, nature and roots of the communication problem for that particular group of people.

2) If the problems are quite vast and have deeply-rooted causes, you may want to secure the help of a neutral negotiator. This third party may be able to get inside the problem more thoroughly than an insider because when communication problems crop up, the group involved may choose to clam up or point fingers rather than admit to their role in creating the problem.

3) To maintain confidentiality, it is possible to use a
tool such as a survey. People who might be scared to tell the truth because of reprisals would then have another safer option compared to coming out of the crowd.

4) After you have uncovered the problem and its roots, you may choose to initiate group counseling or training. The point of this is to address the problem of the group, rather than focusing on just one person. Finger-pointing is avoided. The saying "united we stand, divided we fall" should become the motto of the group.

5) It is important for the leader to have great communication skills so that communication problems can be resolved. Communication skills are required to diagnose communication problems, and naturally, provide the necessary solutions. Leaders who lack adequate communication skills might benefit from more training in communication.

6) Do your research - perhaps the communication problem you are experiencing now has occurred before in the history of the organization. And perhaps someone knows the solution that could work now. So look inwards into the heart of the organization, ask around, and you may find the way to properly address your organization's communication problems.

Remember, if your organization is already suffering communication problems, don't wait for these symptoms to get worse. Good communication is necessary for an organization to function properly and stay viable amidst the influx of a multitude of challenges from the environment. Act immediately on communication problems and stem the bleeding of your organization.
About the Author
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available only at: conversation starters
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