Clear, effective communication is one of the keys to creating a successful business. A company might employ the brightest, most innovative, highly competent individuals, but all that talent is wasted if communication is ineffective or nonexistent.
How does your workplace measure up? Take this ten question quiz to find out!
- During a typical meeting, how involved are the participants?
- Not involved at all
- Somewhat involved—a few people speak up
- Very involved; meetings usually contain an open dialogue between all participants
- When your superior gives you an assignment that you don’t fully understand, what do you do?
- Try to figure it out for yourself
- Ask a co-worker or two if they can shed some light on the assignment
- Go directly to your supervisor and ask her to clarify the assignment
- How often do co-workers mingle?
- Rarely; we usually keep to ourselves
- Occasionally; we like talking to each other during lunch or at work functions
- Often; we seek each other out for discussion
- When you’re working with a team, how engaged is each team member?
- Not engaged at all
- Some team members are engaged, but some hardly participate
- Everyone is engaged and involved; all ideas or opinions are considered
- If you’re dealing with a personal hardship, what do you do?
- Nothing; I keep it to myself
- I might tell a trusted co-worker or two
- I approach my supervisor and let him know that I may not perform at my peak, due to the personal hardship
- Imagine you are working with a team that clashes. How would your team members likely deal with the situation?
- They would fume silently or only communicate with “allies” (those with whom they agree)
- They would involve some people in solving the problem, but would not consider everyone’s opinion
- They would have an open discussion to get at the root of the issue and make sure everyone is on the same page before moving forward
- If you have an idea that might benefit the company, how likely are you to share it?
- Not likely; I would probably keep it to myself
- I might share it with one or two people
- I would approach my boss and ask to meet with her so we can discuss the idea
- If you’re asked to complete a project that is out of your scope of expertise, how comfortable are you with saying no?
- I never say no; I would figure out some way to handle the project
- I might say no if the project is truly beyond my scope, but I would likely say yes
- I am comfortable saying no; if that’s not an option, I am comfortable finding the help I need to successfully complete the project
- Does your company provide opportunities to offer feedback
- No, it does not
- Sometimes I am asked to give feedback during meetings or one-on-ones
- Yes, we are regularly encouraged to give feedback
- Overall, your co-workers’ listening skills are…
- …terrible; they often don’t seem to care what others are saying
- …okay; some employees are good listeners, but most are not
- …great; we practice being present for each other
NOW, calculate your score:
- A. = 1 point
- B. = 2 points
- C. = 3 points
How did you do?
Uh-oh. Your inter-office communication is severely lacking. You do not feel comfortable communicating with others about issues and there is little room for offering feedback or bringing forth new ideas. This closed-door type of workplace can create tension among co-workers or frustration when an issue arises.
Your communication strategy could use a jumpstart! If you are in a decision-making or leadership position, consider hiring a coach that will identify trouble spots and create an organization-wide plan to improve communication. If you do not have the power to hire a coach, schedule a meeting with your supervisor and express your concerns about the current state of your workplace’s communication. If nothing else, you’ll start a dialogue and hopefully your supervisor will begin to tune-in to the communication issues in the office.
Another action you can take: Start talking! Ask your co-workers about their weekends, engage others in conversations, and offer your opinions during company meetings. Your positive communication can help open the door for others to follow your lead.
Your workplace communication is okay, but could use some improvement. You may feel comfortable discussing some matters with some people, but there are instances when you feel that your voice isn’t welcome at the table. When a conflict arises, it is often not dealt with in a direct, open manner.
Start a dialogue. Begin talking with those you trust about the workplace’s communication issues and develop a plan for improving the current system. Bring your ideas to the HR team and begin a discussion about how to create a more accessible, open workplace. Consider hiring a coach to identify areas for improvement and develop a strategy for solving your company’s communication trouble spots.
Wow! Your company gets a gold star in communication. Your upper-level management keeps an open-door policy and welcomes feedback. Everyone feels fairly comfortable with each other and people are not afraid to bring forth new ideas, opinions, or reservations. When a conflict arises within a team, it is openly discussed and sorted out.
Keep up the good work! Identify any areas of improvement that may need to be addressed and create an open dialogue that addresses those issues. Continue to encourage others to share their thoughts, so that everyone feels welcomed and valued.
Communication is vital to the success of a business. If your company is struggling in this area, Peer Performance Solutions can help. Contact us today to find out how we can help improve your company’s communication strategy.