What Are the Causes of a Lack of Communication Among Coworkers?

Even in meetings, communication may be absent or ineffective.
Even in meetings, communication may be absent or ineffective. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

A lack of communication in the workplace can really hold a company back. Not only will important information not get to the employees it should, leading to projects taking longer and mistakes being made, but the well-being of co-workers can also suffer. Both employees and managers will get frustrated about problems in communications, and such issues can even lead to individuals leaving the company. All co-workers must collaborate to eliminate the causes of a lack of communication.

Lack of Management Experience

It’s often up to the management team to communicate effectively to those employees below it in the company’s hierarchy, and these exchanges contain the potential for problems if managers don’t know when or what to communicate. The root of this problem can sometimes lie in the inexperience of managers. If a manager has been recently promoted for example, he may not be familiar with the important information he needs to pass on, or won’t communicate to the right people as required.

Poor Expression

In some cases, an individual may feel that she has communicated adequately to a co-worker, but the co-worker will not realize that she has been given information, or else will feel she doesn’t have all the information she requires, thus leading to a sense of a lack of communication. The problem here is that the first individual doesn’t know how to communicate effectively; she might deliver the information too quickly or unclearly, or perhaps speak using technical terms or slang which is incomprehensible to her co-workers.

Employees Hold on to Information

New information can take some digesting, and an individual may feel that he has time to study the information or to make a decision, without realizing the need for fresh information to be communicated immediately to others. The individual may also act on the information, but not tell any other employees about it, because he believes that he is the only one who needs to know. Either way, the end result is a lack of communication as co-workers aren’t told the information they require.

Irregular Meetings

Meetings are highly conducive to communication, and facilitate the exchange of information and opinions between both management and staff. Sometimes, a company doesn’t hold enough meetings, and even members of the same department or team will be unable to effectively discuss issues or raise questions. Irregular meetings can lead to a breakdown in communication between co-workers who need to be talking frequently.

No Freedom of Speech

Not all workplaces provide employees with the feeling that they can express their opinions and ideas, and thus individuals won’t open discussions with their co-workers on important issues. An employee might have a problem with a manager’s leadership style, for instance, but may worry that if she speaks her mind, her chances of promotion or even her job will be threatened as a result.

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