01 Feb 2019

Don’t you get me?! Five reasons why we’re failing to connect in the workplace

“Being misunderstood doesn’t mean you’re the issue …sometimes it’s the people that misunderstand you with all the issues” (unknown)

Have you ever felt misunderstood in the workplace?
All too often workplace communication lets us down. Poor human-to-human connection leads to employees feeling disengaged, dissatisfied and frustrated.

Why? What are we doing wrong? Here are five reasons why we’re failing to connect.

  1. We don’t listen properly. We’re quick to interrupt and we don’t focus or concentrate on what the other person is saying.
  2. We hide behind email. Sometimes wouldn’t it be easier to pick up the phone or speak to someone in person? So often the emails we write can be misread or misinterpreted, causing the recipient to feel confused or offended.
  3. We’re distracted. We know multitasking doesn’t work, but we still try to do it. Half an eye on a screen, and half an eye on the person. You’re not going to connect unless you disconnect from the gadgets!
  4. We’re rushing. The modern disease of busyness leads to unhealthy communication habits! Ultimately, if we slow down to check understanding, we’ll save time in the long run.
  5. We use jargon. What’s with the clunky, corporate vocabulary? Won’t plain English do? We’re failing to connect because we regurgitate stock phrases and rely on cliches.

We all crave human connection. But we insist on taking shortcuts in a futile bid to win time. And the result? Disengagement, disconnection and, more often than not, poor productivity.

So how can we improve workplace communication and foster meaningful and productive human connections? A good starting place is by being more aware of our own behaviour. Ask yourself honestly: are you ever guilty of any of the above bad habits? Why not make a pledge to be a compassionate communicator for a day? Make a commitment to do the following tomorrow:

  1. Listen properly
  2. Have more face-to-face conversations
  3. Give people your full attention
  4. Take your time and give people your time
  5. Use plain English

And let us know if you had a better day as a result!