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8 Workplace Miscommunication Examples And Ways To Handle It

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90% of all management problems are caused by miscommunication.
~Dale Carnegie

Miscommunication must have been a thing even before language came into existence. Interestingly, it still is common years after the advent of language.

But, when it comes to guaranteeing success in the business world, the workforce must communicate without leaving room for miscommunication. However, language is a tricky art, and misunderstanding can always happen, even when speakers try to be understood.

Although miscommunication cannot always be prevented, especially in the workplace. There are ways to tackle them.

So, here are some popular and common miscommunication examples in the workplace, along with ways to address it.

Causes of Miscommunication

It's nearly impossible to eradicate miscommunication in the workplace completely. However, figuring out its most typical causes is a positive step toward minimizing and avoiding it.

The most frequent reasons for inadequate workplace communication are listed below.

  • Disengaged Employees

  • Lack of Goals and Objectives

  • Bad Management

  • Poor Interpersonal and Non-verbal Communication Abilities

  • Limited or Missing Feedback

The Price to Pay for Miscommunication

Miscommunication in the workplace can result in various problems, some of which might cost businesses a lot of money. Let's say that a miscommunication stays unnoticed or unrepaired. In that circumstance, businesses might anticipate effects on their revenue and capability to retain them.

Businesses must thus develop plans and procedures to handle any misunderstandings. To guarantee that teams are operating effectively, managers and leaders must have hands-on training in conflict resolution in the workplace. And they must know how to resolve miscommunication between their employees.

8 Workplace Miscommunication Examples at Work

Example 1: "Although I do all the work, nobody appreciates me."

The meaning behind: The organization and its culture lack effective employee recognition and appreciation programs or initiatives.


How to address the matter?

It's critical to stand back and consider the intent behind any employee remarks. Even while their statements may come out as a little harsh, they do have some merit. Because of this, company executives need to interpret their employees' words carefully. Think about whether the employee is being ignored and, if so, why that would be the case. If you believe that their effort merits praise, be sure to express it. Always remember how important it is for staff members to feel appreciated for their work.

Example 2: "I am not getting paid according to the work I do."

The meaning behind: I feel I am not getting paid according to the market standards. I think I am both underpaid and undervalued.


How to address the matter?

Quote- 51% of workers believed that they were underpaid. But, in reality, they were paid at or above the market.

Many employees have yet to learn whether they're being paid fairly and competitively. With each passing day, the perception of fair pay is getting worse. Employers are not communicating, and employees are presuming.

Due to rising confusion, employees don't know whether they are valued properly or not. Also, the chances of them feeling underpaid is more. Feeling underpaid or less valued may ultimately lead to reduced efforts and increased burnout at work on their part.

In such a scenario, pay communication becomes indispensable.

Communicating with the employees on the pay policies is necessary to maintain transparency and clear any skeptics. Moreover, it strengthens employee engagement and reinforces company culture. It also enhances the perception of employers and HRs in employees' minds.

Example 3: "My work is not exciting enough. I am feeling bored."

The meaning behind: I want my work to be more challenging. A mundane and monotonous job is something I don't see myself in.


How to address the matter?

As a business leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees have the right attitude to work efficiently. On top of that, you also have to make them feel that their work is crucial for the organization. Find ways to relate their work to the company's overarching goal and highlight why it is essential. Employees must believe that their effort matters and supports a greater good than just themselves.

Example 4: "I'll be able to manage it better myself. That would be easier."

The meaning behind: I don't trust those around me to do what has to be done successfully. Therefore I prefer to rely on myself and manage things on my own.


How to address the matter?

It can be challenging for many managers and executives to delegate certain duties and assignments in a workplace. The right people must always be chosen for the job, after all. It's also crucial to comprehend how personnel collaborates and what they think about their teams. There is probably a reason why someone feels that working alone is preferable.

They may have observed issues with their coworkers' work and want to ensure the job is done correctly. Discuss honestly with them to learn their thoughts, and seek to devise strategies to promote a more collaborative workplace where everyone's views and concerns may be considered. To ensure that everyone in the team is mindful of what needs to be done in order to collaborate effectively, you may also draft written team agreements.

Example 5: "Employees in the organization don't care about one another. They are mostly concerned about themselves."

The meaning behind: Team collaboration and cohesiveness is less in this organization. Since the bonding between one another is so less, people rather prefer to mind their own business.


How to address the matter?

Great communication is one of the key aspects of an efficient team collaboration. Effective communication improves bonding within a team, and guess what? It's the cheapest way too.

Not only that, having clear instructions on the project, asking questions before making assumptions, and taking into account every employee not only creates a great work culture but also improves transparency. Every employee should be able to communicate with authority and autonomy. This promotes transparency and accountability in the workplace.

Example 6: "Employee learning and development is no one's concern. The management solely focuses on achieving targets and maximizing profits."

The meaning behind: The organization lags in its employee learning and development initiatives. The culture promotes achieving targets but neglects the long-term well-being of the employees.


How to address the matter?

The ultimate mantra for corporate success is developing one's talents and skills. And the workforce knows this mantra all too well. That's why modern employee is more likely to seek out cultures that have the potential to further their growth and skills. If they discover a culture lacking robust talent development initiatives, they quickly lose faith in the organization.

That makes it imperative for employers to invest in training and development policies. Programs that focus on developing the skills and talents of individuals. Moreover, it also unlocks infinite future opportunities for career-minded employees. Here, a Gallup study points out that:

Quote: Companies that invest strategically in employee development are twice as likely to retain their people while increasing profitability by 11%.

Example 7: "I belong to an underrepresented community. There are times when I don't feel welcomed and accepted."

The meaning behind: The organization is unsuccessful in fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. Great D&I strategies and policies still need to be put in place.


How to address the matter?

Building a diverse and inclusive workplace has become crucial to a company's growth and development. But to incorporate D&I in the organization, HRs and managers must take tangible steps to create a workplace committed to diversity and inclusion.

Some of the best inclusion and diversity practices are listed below:

  • Educate those in Positions of Authority

  • Organize a Council

  • Focus on Diverse Hiring

  • Promote and Facilitate Innovation and Creativity

  • Initiatives for Diversity and Inclusion should be monitored

Diversity and inclusion policies and practices are much more than just a trendy progressive trend in the workplace. It is a strategy to improve employee engagement, staff retention, innovation, better decision-making, and revenue.

After incorporating D&I into their strategy, businesses and organizations have seen improvements.

Example 8: "I haven't slept well the past few days. Tension and anxiety have become a part of my life."

The meaning behind: The work environment is stressful, and employees face frequent burnout.


How to address the matter?

By enhancing the work experience, organizations may systematically combat burnout. The complete journey an employee takes with their firm is included in the employee experience. It covers an employee's interaction with the company throughout their life cycle.

The employee life cycle is composed of several critical stages, namely-

  • Attract

  • Hire

  • Onboard

  • Engage

  • Perform

  • Develop

  • Depart

From the candidate's experience to the time of departure, organizations have the greatest impact on the employee experience.

The relationships between employees and their managers, the clarity of their roles, their contribution to their teams, and their welfare all influence the employee experience .

These significant encounters mold organizational culture.

By rectifying the loopholes in the organization's culture and enhancing the employee experience, organizations can tackle the issue of employee burnout and stress.

How to fix the problem of miscommunication in the workplace?

Though instances of miscommunication cannot be avoided altogether, keeping certain best practices in mind can help to minimize it. After all, miscommunication is a primary cause of unsettling work environments and lower employee engagement.

1. Identify Fundamental Communication Standards


Establish a set of guidelines for internal and external communication inside your firm. This will lay a strong platform for future communication initiatives.

You might develop brand guidelines, carry out communication training, or do something different based on your firm's requirements.

2. Must be Reliable and Consistent

Employees should be able to count on constant efforts regarding workplace communication. Setting standards and adhering to them will ensure that communication sounds consistent.

Even so, it goes further. Workplace communication should occur consistently through the same means, mediums, and individuals.

Avoid leaving them in suspense and avoid oversaturating them with information. Employees should be able to anticipate changes and major announcements and know the best place to turn for the latest information. They should know they will fall behind if they skip even one team meeting or email.

This calls for ongoing communication rather than a one-time effort. Employees will start to distrust communication from leadership if they only hear from it when a significant issue or change arises.

That is the complete opposite of the safe environment you seek. Instead, employees should become accustomed to learning about what is happening and receiving a heads-up about impending change when appropriate.

3. Make a Place where People can Talk Freely

Employees must feel free to express their thoughts, make suggestions, raise problems, ask inquiries, and provide criticism.

Your organization needs to provide a secure communication environment on all levels and in all directions, whether you approach this from a top-down viewpoint (both to and from direct reports and leadership) or horizontally (colleagues and team members).

Employees should feel at ease approaching you with concerns since they know they are in a safe environment when speaking within the above-mentioned stated norms.

It would be best if you feel at ease approaching them with problems for your leadership. If not, gently press the matter to learn why it isn't a secure environment for discussing difficulties with them.

4. Break Down Communication Silos

Many organizations, including small ones, have silos. Employees are not working with one another when they are solely concerned with their responsibilities, departments, or goals.

Occasionally, this results in a communication breakdown when one department is unaware of what the other is doing or, worse, unintentionally undermines the efforts of another department. Other times, this results in them missing out on the unique viewpoint that comes with teamwork, which is essential for grasping the "big picture."

But to enhance communication at work, you must be dedicated to dismantling silos as soon as they are identified. Participate in decision-making with the staff.

Allow those who need to know to participate in the discussion. And strive to be as transparent as you can.

5. Ask for Feedback Proactively


Alarmingly, Gallup research reveals that more than 50% of American workers are disengaged from their jobs. This might lead to a lot of staff turnover, lower productivity, and unhappy workers.

Instead of waiting for staff members to approach management with problems, the business should take the initiative to ask for their views.

If you want engaged employees who feel appreciated and motivated, good workplace communication needs to be a two-way path.

6. Actively Listen to your Employees


Active listening is essential to preventing misunderstandings, just like in any relationship. It might be challenging to remember to take a break from multitasking and heavy responsibilities to pay attention to individuals who are speaking to you.

But in the end, it is a worthwhile activity. After all, active listening is a helpful strategy that can ensure coworkers communicate effectively with one another. It fosters a respectful work environment and reduces misunderstandings.


When communication is clear and effective, it can help build strong relationships, inspire trust and cooperation, and contribute to a more productive work environment.
~Fanny Surjana, CEO of Quenchlist

All businesses that want to succeed would be wise to thoughtfully address the severe problem of miscommunication.

Companies that struggle with misunderstanding should start by developing a thorough and practical internal communication plan in order to address the issue. A well-designed internal communication system can do wonders and assist a business in reaching its goals.

This article is written by Sanjeevani Saikia who is a part of the marketing team at Vantage Circle. Sanjeevani loves to split her leisure time between reading and watching TedX. Her curiosity is easily piqued by the most recent developments in Human Resource Management and Organizational Psychology. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com.

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