Communication barriers in the workplace are an inevitability. Just think about your office… and about how people work. I’ll bet the first person you think about works completely differently than you do. There’s a reason why you don’t think instantly about the person who approaches work in the same way you do— that relationship and the way you work together is easy. Figuring out how to work with someone who is completely different from you is hard.
How many times do you just do something yourself rather than flex and have that person help you out? How often do you avoid working with him? What projects have been scattered and isolated because of working styles?
Communication barriers and working too much on your own is the end result, but what’s the underlying cause? What are the roots behind the excuses?
We’re all wired differently…so let’s explore if that could be at the core of communication barriers in the workplace. Let’s say you have a significant Analytical thinking preference and your coworker is someone with a predominant Social thinking preference. You’re coming at things completely differently at times; so without conscious effort to communicate in a way she can understand, breakdowns happen.
You could even be saying the same thing but in a very different way. Take a project you’re partnering on to create a quicker process for converting initial customer contacts into qualified leads. The overall findings come down to the fact that it takes too much time to follow up on promising leads.
What’s your Analytical thought process? Where specifically is the breakdown happening? What data can we pull from our lead generation software? How many leads are falling out of the funnel?
These are all great insights and questions, but how do they differ from your teammate’s insights?
Her Social intake may sound like this: What are we not doing to engage our customers? Do we need additional touch points? Have we spoken to our front-end sales reps?
Again, great insights…but nothing like yours.
If we can combine these approaches (a WEapproach in Emergenetics terms) it would provide rich, meaningful and more holistic picture of how to attack the problem. But, without two things…communication will break down:
1. Self-awareness and vulnerability – You need to understand your own tendencies and their value, but also what you may not think about as readily. You also need to be vulnerable to hearing your ideas challenged from a viewpoint different than your own.
2. Understanding of others and openness – Knowing and looking for clues as to the way someone else approaches things and appreciating that difference is key. Additionally, you need to create an open environment—knowing your behavioral tendencies, like how you Express yourself, Assert yourself and where your Flexibility lies gives you a different perspective on being open.
Each and every person you work with will contribute in their own way. And that’s an amazing thing if you can tap into it. Having a well-rounded team helps to ensure every aspect of work receives proper attention. The team is strong because of the strengths of its individual members working together towards a common goal.
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