Poor Communication Is Killing Your Management Style

Communication is the key to building strong, productive relationships between managers and employees. But often, communication breakdowns are difficult to identify and repair. If your organization is lacking the kind of communication effectiveness that bolsters retention and promotes employee satisfaction, your first step is to identify the issue.

[Bonus Resource: How to Improve Workplace Communication Skills: A Guide for Managers]


Detecting A Communication Breakdown

When you’re facing problems in the workplace, the underlying cause can be challenging to pinpoint. In fact, any struggles that you combat regularly may be symptoms of a greater communication breakdown.

Poor communication is often the root cause of:

  • Decreased employee productivity.
    It’s nearly impossible for workers to fulfill their job responsibilities if they don’t fully understand what those are. Without essential communication skills, managers are not properly conveying expectations and requirements, and employees are unable to carry out their work efficiently or effectively.
  • A greater need for discipline.
    Some managers may attribute the need for disciple to the shortcomings of their employees, but it’s entirely possible that their own poor communication is to blame. Missteps occur when employees don’t understand the boundaries and rules of their position.
  • Resistance to change.
    Change management is a tricky endeavor even for strong communicators. And without a well-thought-out business communication strategy for implementing the change, employees tend to feel unstable about the future.
  • Failed project management.
    Do your employees struggle to communicate with their superiors? Or do your managers lack the essential communication skills to give proper direction? In either case, it’s a challenge to carry out tasks in a prompt and thorough fashion.
  • High turnover rates.
    While there are many causes for low employee retention, lack of communication training for managers is a big one. Employees that don’t experience an open culture of communication often become frustrated and disengaged.

    Employee Retention Whitepaper

If you see these problems occurring within your organization, take the time to evaluate. One way to determine if you need communication training for managers is by asking the following questions:

  • Do employees struggle to complete the tasks that are assigned to them?
  • Do they seem to be asking for clarification on a frequent basis?
  • Are you experiencing an excessive amount of misunderstandings?

If you’re answering yes, you need to make a change – one that focuses on improved business communications.


Elevating Communication Effectiveness

Strengthening business communications is a process. With the right communication training for managers, you’re able to easily rectify a breakdown by applying a series of tactics:

  • Creating a culture of open communication.
    Communication is a two-way street. For employees to feel comfortable engaging with their superiors and peers, a culture of open communication is vital. What does this look like? Managers and employees alike are honest with their opinions, free with their feedback and unafraid of negative repercussions. Problems are openly discussed, and decisions are explained so that no employee feels left in the dark.
  • Communicating clearly and concisely.
    As opposed to complex messages or mixed instructions, an effective business communication strategy affords employees a solid understanding of expectations. When feedback and direction are given, they should be clear and organized, providing the greatest opportunity for workers to succeed.
  • Recognizing, understanding and managing non-verbal communication.
    You often hear people say, “It’s not what you said. It’s how you said it.” Communication isn’t just about the words you speak. It’s also about the way in which messages are delivered. Think: ­tone, attitude, facial expression, gestures. When managers deliver instruction in aggressive tones, employees are likely to feel threatened or defensive. If a manager provides feedback but fails to make eye contact or is busy with paperwork, the employee might interpret the behavior as a sign of being undervalued or unimportant.
  • Listening.
    Again, communication goes both ways, and one of the most effective means for a manager to show that he or she understands the team’s challenges is by listening to their issues. Listening is a valuable way to strengthen leadership skills, engage employees, foster team loyalty and show that workers’ needs are important.


Poor communication is just one of the issues organizations like yours face. Need help identifying other areas for improvement? Schedule a free evaluation of your management training needs.

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