Why Does Poor Communication Lead to Misunderstandings And Conflict?

Published on 12/02/2020


Communication can be good or it can be bad; it’s rarely anywhere in the middle. Anything short of high-quality communication within a workplace setting can lead you down the road towards possible conflict, certain misunderstandings, and a huge drop in morale.

When you understand the direct link between morale and productivity, you realise how important it is to ensure that employees are happy. Office conflict comes at a huge price, and it’s something you need to try and avoid if at all possible - one way to do that is to ensure that communication skills within the office remain high at all times. 

Check out this video which talks a little more about bad communication.

As you can see, bad communication isn’t a good thing and it’s not something you should be inviting into your office space! Your employees need to be able to communicate effectively with one another around the boardroom furniture during collaborative sessions and they also need to understand the importance of written communication skills too, whilst sending email and letters from their office desks to customers and clients elsewhere. 

But, why exactly does poor communication actually lead to misunderstandings, which can all too often turn into full-blown conflicts?

What Does Poor Communication Actually do?

When you don’t get your point across clearly, you leave it open to interpretation and if your body language is contradicting your words, it’s very easy for the other person to get the completely wrong impression. This wrong impression can be anything from simply not quite understanding you, to taking serious offence at what they think you’re trying to say. 

Misunderstandings in written communication are very common and this is often down to someone writing an email or letter in their own head but not taking a minute to think about how the other person might read it. That is why when you write emails and letters you should always double-check everything and be very careful before sending anything out. 

It’s not just poor communication which causes problems, it’s a total lack of communication too. When offices start to suffer the effects of low morale, it can be that employees simply don’t talk to each other. When sitting in their office chairs they just get on with what they need to do, and when around the modern boardroom tables, they just listen, rather than come up with new ideas and suggestions freely. 

If communicating poorly leaves your words open to interpretation, then not communicating at all can leave your silence open to fill in the gaps. Again, you’re staring at misunderstandings. 

Conflicts can easily occur due to both situations and when tension starts to build, it can easily explode like a pressure cooker. The results from that point onwards are unlikely to be at all positive for morale in your office, which then goes on to affect productivity and the quality of goods and services transferred to your customers.

The best course of action is to encourage your employees to communicate with one another and perhaps have training sessions every now and again to highlight common communication problems and how to overcome them. For instance, some people aren’t aware of how their body language may contradict their words, but if you give a training session on this, they’ll have that awareness and perhaps start to change the way they communicate from that point onwards. 

It’s very easy to fall into bad habits and poor communication can often be as a result of those types of habits. By having awareness and being able to identify barriers to effective communication, you’ll be able to overcome potential problems, reduce the chances of misunderstandings and therefore overcome the risk of potential office conflicts too.  

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