Many organizations have adopted streamlined, powerful and robust policies to overcome organizational barriers to communication.
In the workplace, across organizational structures, many employees encounter an organizational barrier to communication that may hamper their work style.
This may be due to messages being filtered as they travel from one team to another or a timid employee who’s afraid to approach their senior. So, how can senior management overcome barriers to effective communication in an organization? Read on to discover more.
Effective Communication In The Workplace
Professionals communicate on a daily basis. Whether it’s emails, phone calls or Zoom meetings, communication is the lifeforce of a well-functioning organization. Not only do employees need to communicate well to get work done but it also helps if they’re articulate and courteous. Good communication helps with employee accountability, too.
It’s a lot to take in for new recruits. But for experienced professionals, the importance of communication is well-known. Management is responsible for ensuring a system is in place for effective communication.
Here’s why effective communication is a must-have skill for professionals:
In a professional setting, it’s important to have streamlined processes in place. This helps make sure that things are running smoothly. Moreover, communication helps iron out details, overcome setbacks and bind everyone together. Sending an email to a junior employee, for instance, explaining what needs to be done helps them refer to it when needed. If this same brief is communicated over the phone, they might miss out on a few details. A well-established process that helps everyone get on the same page is one of the most powerful advantages of effective communication.
Organizations are run by people who each have their interpersonal relationships and goals. It’s important for team members, teams and departments to get along. Collaboration means everyone works together to achieve organizational goals. Effective communication channels where everyone feels like they’re a part of the story leads to airtight collaboration. This, in turn, positively impacts the organization in achieving success. Collaboration, along with communication, is one of the pillars of a well-established organization.
Communication can help everyone follow through on their promises and deliverables. Employees have to be accountable and responsible for their work, including their mistakes, if any. Communicating updates to seniors or requesting information within deadlines is better than missing important dates or delivering incorrect work. Following through is an often-rewarded workplace skill. If employees can be given the room to make their own decisions, they can build the mindset needed to be accountable for their work.
Seniors need to provide constructive feedback to their juniors to help them improve, and become better professionals. For a safe and comfortable space, organizations need to set up a proper feedback channel where neither the senior nor the junior feels compelled to hold back information. Employees who are honest and open with their feedback have a more rewarding learning curve in the workplace.
When goals are communicated well across functions and levels, it’s easier for everyone to work toward achieving them. Organizations can inform everyone of the bigger picture and how each individual member’s role fits into the process. This way, the entire team is well-versed with their contribution, they’ll even find more value in their work. It’s the senior management that’s responsible for setting the pace for employees to follow suit.
Effective communication is easily one of the most important aspects of an organization. Where leaders and decision-makers can falter is with an organizational barrier that hinders this communication process. Organizational barriers to communication are apparent and glaring. It takes mindfulness and a dedicated effort to fix the process.
Organizational Barriers Of Communication
Organizational barriers to communication hinder the workflow in almost every organization—regardless of size. The number of employees doesn’t determine how well your organization runs. Even with a handful of employees, the system can completely break down due to an organizational barrier to communication. To understand what these barriers could be, let’s take a look at a few examples of organization barriers to communication.
There are several types of organizational barriers. But some are more evident than others, such as:
Different Organizational Structures
More traditional, systematic organizations prefer a top-down approach when it comes to communication. In this method, the senior management conveys information to their immediate juniors. This is then passed on to the people who need to know it. It’s a vertical chain of command that determines how communication flows. This can either be top-down or bottom-up. Either way, the level of authority, type of message and people involved affect the communication. This organizational barrier can lead to messages being filtered. In a flat organizational structure, where everyone’s treated equally, there are more informal communication channels. This can often mean the right information gets lost in friendly banter. Employees can be confused between what’s important or isn’t.
Managers who micromanage will inevitably create an organizational barrier among their teams or juniors. They’ll likely not build the kind of trust needed for honest and effective communication. Micromanagement can severely impact the interpersonal relationships among employees. If a team doesn’t communicate well, it may even hinder their goal-setting and subsequent targets. Managers must make room for mistakes, questions and concerns to make sure employees feel heard at all times.
Absence Of Clearly Defined Communication Channels
Informal communication channels or an absence of formal channels is one of the most significant examples of organizational barriers. When communication is expected with no clear system in place instead of made mandatory, it can lead to problems in the workplace. For instance, managers may expect employees to email them something important, but if this hasn’t been communicated, it may not happen. At the same time, if employees are waiting on managers to assign work, they’ll end up wasting time. Thus, an absent communication channel can severely impact the quality, completion rate and efficiency of work.
Communicating Through Informal Channels
Employees must stick to formal channels of communication when conveying important work-related information, be it a work brief, client update or organizational updates. Sharing information through other digital communication platforms that aren’t restricted to work can lead to gaps. Organizational barriers can occur when such processes are not put in place or aren’t implemented correctly. Thus, it’s a key area where management can invest to make sure everyone knows where to share updates.
Weak Interpersonal Relationships
Interpersonal relationships in the workplace are built on trust. Communication can help employees—from different teams and departments—build trust-rich relationships. An absence of trust often leads to conflict among teams. For instance, without a clear demarcation of roles, employees can feel like they’re doing too much or too little. Robust interpersonal relationships help employees determine the quality, effectiveness and impact of their work.
An organizational barrier can lead to communication roadblocks in the workplace. But, there are certain steps organizations can take to make sure communication is seamless.
How To Overcome Organizational Barriers To Communication
Organizations can invest in skill-development programs and training sessions for employees to overcome barriers. As a significant aspect of business today, communication skills can help them achieve their targets and sustain competition. So, focusing on improvement areas for communication becomes even more critical for growth and development.
Here are some ways to overcome organizational barriers:
- Employee development programs can help staff members build essential communication skills to accomplish their objectives without hindrances.
- Setting up a formal, accounted-for communication channel will inevitably lead to streamlined interactions and engagement among employees.
- Taking stock of what’s happening around the office with regular check-ins and catch-ups with teams is another way to collaborate effectively.
- Establishing proper feedback channels, performance management systems and cyclical modes of communication help teams bond, build rapport and trust.
- Organization-wide, anonymous surveys can help management identify where the problem lies and come up with creative solutions to resolve it.
- Top management can take informed initiatives to encourage their employees to approach them with queries, concerns or ideas.
- An open-door policy can also help employees feel comfortable with their seniors, without holding back or getting scared to put their ideas on the table.
Striking a balance between informal and formal communication channels is one of the most effective ways to overcome communication barriers. Organizations can take concrete and well-researched steps to create a more cohesive, united workforce. Not unlike technical skill development, communication skill development is a continuous process that requires attention.
Harappa’s Confident Communication Program
Investing in employee development is key when it comes to reducing turnover rates and retaining top talent. Harappa’s Confident Communication Program helps professionals communicate positively, listen actively and build meaningful relationships. Our program is built on seven crucial outcomes including crafting engaging messages to influence, collaborate and get buy-ins, synthesizing ideas into a coherent narrative and establishing the core objective, audience and context of communication.
Ensure your teams get the best of a blended, online-first journey with our curated learning pathway for effective communicators. Achieve transformative outcomes with our ACE (Activate-Cultivate-Elevate) Framework for success. Our experienced faculty bring rich anecdotes and their lived wisdom to our self-paced courses and live masterclasses. Enroll your teams and talent today to drive high performance.
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