The Risks of Stalling Communication
Communication is a core part of any human experience and a big part of emotional intelligence, yet it’s something we all struggle with. Regardless of the amount of technology available to us to help us communicate, under-communication is still a constant challenge for many at work.
Stalling communication can prevent employees from reaching their full potential, and it can be harmful to your business. Effective communication skills, strategies, and tools in a work environment can optimize performance, boost morale, and help your team stay competitive.
In order for a business to thrive in success, a solid communication system and good relationships are needed. If you feel your team does not have that, you will face many risks. In this blog post, I’m going to share a few risks of stalling communication with your team.
Risk # 1 – Your Employees Will Resign
Recent studies have shown that 80% of the U.S workforce reported stress due to poor communication and that 63% have considered quitting due to poor communication. Not only that, but that number has doubled since the previous year, and if leaders aren’t making effective changes, that number will only increase.
The Gallup’s State of the American Workplace reports that 90% of employees said good communication is key to a positive working environment. That means that employees value good communication more than ideal pay and are less likely to quit if their workplace was more effective at communication. Many even consider great communication as an employee benefit.
So if you don’t have great communication in your workplace, or if you’re not providing your team with effective communication, you are putting yourself at risk of losing your team.
Risk # 2 – It Creates Unnecessary Stress in The Workplace
High levels of stress in the workplace are a big sign that there are communication issues. The same study mentioned earlier says 70% of employees feel overwhelmed because of broken communication. Stalling communication can create the feeling that every task is urgent, causing you and your team to feel rushed, overwhelmed, overworked, and mentally drained. This is why communication is essential, it can bring a sense of stability and structure and dismiss any workplace tension.
Especially since many of us are working from home, stalling communication will only create a stressful work (and home!) environment for everyone. Your team will feel worn out, impacting their spouse or parents and it has the potential of affecting their entire day. Sometimes employees may feel guilty for carrying the stress and negativity with them as they interact with others. Remember, stress stays with you as you go on with your day, and it becomes a challenge to be productive.
“Communication is the real work of leadership.” – Nitin Nohria
Risk # 3 – It Leads to Unmet Needs and Expectations
Employees enjoy working in environments where they can build relationships with their colleagues and share their ideas and perspectives openly. Creating an environment where your teams feel comfortable and they can communicate with others is essential for them. If you’re not making that environment for your team, they won’t effectively perform their jobs.
Stalling communication can cause many unmet expectations. Teams will miss deadlines, appointments, and overall, people won’t know their roles and won’t know how to prioritize their tasks. When employees have trouble figuring out their priorities, they choose the wrong task and disappoint their superiors.
This can lower morale and their motivation to perform well, causing them to create a less productive workflow. It will also impact their ability to meet deadlines and deliver projects that can jeopardize your business’s reputation.
Risk # 4 – It Creates Tension and Relationship Breakdowns
When there is a lack of communication and people don’t know what is going on, rumors and gossip will begin. This kind of drama is like cancer to any team, organization, or business. It is human nature to try to figure out unanswered questions and fill in any blanks we see. Stalling communication can leave many gaps that your team will attempt to fill with speculation.
Rumors and gossip can easily create tension and resentment as they stem from fear and sensitivities. It will affect how your team interacts with one another; any positive relationships might start to feel strained. They might think they can’t ask for guidance or feel comfortable sharing their ideas and perspectives.
Sometimes they might feel a sense of uncertainty about seeking assistance to solve the conflict; they might fear it will affect their job security. It is very common to feel a sense of insecurity or lack of fulfillment in completing your tasks. These negative emotions can slow down productivity and morale in the workplace. Remember, lack of communication ruins everything because instead of knowing how the other person feels, we assume. The best way to keep assumptions and suspicions at bay is to improve communication.
Being a good leader means you can notice these things within your team. You can avoid these risks I’ve mentioned by breaking down any communication barriers. Try to find the root cause for stalling communication. Consider these questions as a place to start:
- Are you not being transparent with your team?
- Is the absence of a team member creating a distraction amongst everyone?
- Is there gossip that is undermining company culture, creating hurt feelings, starting arguments, or portraying people in a negative light?
- Do the people you are leading feel comfortable working together?
- Is there any sense that people feel hesitant to come forward with their ideas, challenges, or opportunities?
As a leader, it is your responsibility to be aware that employees have different communication styles and preferences. Some feel comfortable using emails to communicate on projects, while others prefer more face-to-face interaction.
Having effective communication with your team is a skill a good leader should have. If you feel this is a skill you don’t have or need improvement on, then let me and my team help you. As a leadership coach, I can guide you to become more effective in recognizing conflict and communicating with others. Schedule a FREE call with me and let me help you be a better leader.
You can also learn about different strategies you can implement to create long-term changes in your personal and professional life from my book CHANGES. Grab the FREE Changes Playbook here.
- Video: 5 Passive-Aggressive Communication Barriers
- Blog Post: How to Improve Your Leadership Skill in the Workplace (When We’re All Working Remotely)
- Blog Post: How to Be an Emotionally Intelligent Leader