We come across different kinds of people from various walks of life at work. Some are extremely warm and easy-going while some are not. With some, it’s easy to strike up a conversation while for some, you can’t even muster the confidence of making eye contact.

It’s no secret that our attitudes, beliefs and cultural values guide us and help us navigate daily life. They’re also instrumental in prompting us to interact with others and build relationships. For example, you’re likely to find it easier to connect with someone who shares your taste in music . Therefore, we’re often drawn to individuals who are like-minded and share common grounds with us. However, such factors may turn into limitations at times and it may affect the way we engage with others.

Attitudinal barriers stem from the way we perceive things in addition to the beliefs and values we hold close to us. Attitude barriers obstruct effective communication and may affect workplace relationships if not managed properly. 


  1. Definition Of Attitudinal Barriers

  2. How Do Attitudinal Barriers Work?

  3. Overcoming Attitude Barriers For Effective Communication

Definition Of Attitudinal Barriers


As the name suggests, attitudinal barriers in communication are mental interferences that are the  product of one’s assumption and attitude. Such barriers develop throughout one’s life and get shaped by internal and external experiences. They are typically based on an individual’s socio-economic as well as cultural background. As a result, attitude barriers often get reflected in everyday conversations. Some of the most common attitude barriers include:


  • Perception
  • Personal beliefs
  •  Culture
  • Status
  • Emotionality


Attitudinal barriers can be a major obstruction in communication. It can prevent you from establishing and maintaining trustworthy relationships, make you biased toward others and even look down upon people, among various other limitations.

How Do Attitudinal Barriers Work?


It’s because of a person’s frame of reference that attitude barriers come into play. It consists of various elements that can be either personal, professional or organizational. These elements can distort, obscure or filter information in a way that we focus our attention on the subject only selectively. In professional settings, attitude barriers may be the result of personal conflicts, poor management and personal attitudes or behaviors of people.

Let’s look at the two main driving forces behind different types of attitude barriers:


  • Egocentrism

When someone focuses too much on oneself and believes that their ideas, opinions and perspectives are more valuable than others. Some examples of attitudinal barriers of this kind are: interrupting when others are speaking and dominating group discussions or brainstorming sessions.


  • Judgmental Attitude

In many cases, communication gaps exist because of some sort of judgment against the individual. Some examples of attitudinal barriers of this kind include: using offensive or condescending expressions and choosing to listen to opinions over facts.


In short, attitude barriers can prevent you from communicating properly, trusting others and looking at situations in a logical manner.

Overcoming Attitude Barriers For Effective Communication


Tackling attitudinal barriers to communication may not come easy as they’re part of our identity and belief systems. However, it’s not impossible. Here are some strategies through which you can challenge and overcome attitude barriers:


1. Organize Your Thoughts 

Organizing your thoughts in advance can help you reflect on what you want to communicate and how. For example, if you don’t want to come off as rude in a feedback session, it’s best to write your thoughts down. By doing so, you can gain more control over the tone and language you will use while speaking to the individual.


 2. Pay Attention To Details

You may not be aware of your ticks or triggers that affect others. For example, as a team leader, you’re automatically considered important by your team. But this can prevent them from approaching you and having candid conversations. To communicate to your team that you’re flexible and open to conversations, you need to express it through your actions. Non-confrontational body language and a reassuring tone is a good place to start.


 3. Eliminate Distractions Nearby

To make your audience or speakers feel heard and respected, you need to show them that you’ve given them your undivided attention. It’s important to minimize distractions and make the other person feel comfortable in your presence. For example, switching off your phone during a one-on-one interaction shows that you’re actively listening to the other person.


If you want to present yourself as an effective communicator who listens well and is proactive in situations, try Harappa’s Listening Actively course. It has frameworks that’ll help you identify and overcome barriers to listening so that you learn to listen to others without judgment and be an empathetic and appreciative colleague. Start your free trial to be a mindful communicator today!

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