Let’s not beat around the bush. Leadership, conflict, and miscommunication are closely connected. If that is not the case in your workplace, then chances are you are working with robots, and this blog definitely isn’t for you.
Don’t panic. Conflict shouldn’t be feared. It should be embraced. It is quite commonplace for employers and employees to miscommunicate and to disagree on various topics, tasks and situations. Here are some simple tricks to help you manage, curb, and avoid miscommunication and conflict within a company- small business or otherwise.
Don’t Assume: Assuming that what you said – or didn’t say was obvious is the most common mistake among colleagues and employers. Remember, no one was hired for their mind reading and telepathic skills. Others do NOT know what you mean unless you say it.
Live Communication is Key: We all send hasty emails and messages to our colleagues with the intent of it being received the way it was meant. Unfortunately, text, email, or other form of digital communication often gets lost in translation. If you have something pertinent to share- SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS. Alternately, if you are not one who enjoys heights, shouting, or if you don’t have access to a rooftop, pick up the phone, or speak directly with the person involved. It saves the hassle of having to re-explain your position on the matter later.
The Big Picture: Explaining why the task needs to be done- in terms of the grand scheme of things, is often much more effective in getting the job done. A little explanation goes a long way.
Adjust Your Body Language Accordingly: For example, if your employee gathers up the stomach to march into your office to ask for a day off to cheer at his/hers daughter’s swim competition, and you respond with a guttural sigh, that employee may leave feeling hurt, confused, or uncertain. Always be conscious of the message you are sending- be it verbal or non-verbal.
A healthy working relationship allows for miscommunication and for missteps, as long as the guidance is there to ensure that those things are not the norm. The challenge of conflict is not about the conflict itself, but about the resolution of said conflict. Deal with it head-on, as ignored conflict will fester and become resentment and insecurity. All things that do not a productive employee make.