You’ve Heard it before: Communication is key. Communication is like the oil in a machine. Without it, the machine will never work, and if it gets mucked up the machine won’t work as well as you want. But why is something that we do every day sometimes so difficult? Well, here are some reasons why it’s hard in the workplace and why recognizing these hurdles is the first step in becoming a better communicator at work.

Time

A good conversation can last longer than five minutes. As an employer, where do you find that time? After all, if you had one-on-one talks with every employee, you’d probably never get anything done.

Environment

How’s your company culture? Do you have a company with a complaint box or do you sit and listen or talk to your employees? You might have created a culture that has made it difficult to open the lines of communication between you and your employees.

Personality

We don’t get along with everyone, which makes it naturally more difficult to communicate with some people. And honestly, sometimes we just don’t have the energy to communicate with them, and they might not want to communicate with you.

Situational Conversations

When an employee underperforms, it’s a tough conversation to have. Being the bearer of bad news or the office punisher is not everyone’s favorite job to have and sometimes it’s hard to have conversation about bad news. If you’re an employee, you might get defensive, which only adds to the situation.

 

Now What?

After critically thinking about some communication barriers in your office, you can decide the changes you need to make.

Do you lack the lime? Maybe schedule check ins every few weeks or once a month, that way it becomes part of the schedule and it may cut down on interruptions from drop ins.

Do you have a closed environment? Get rid of the complaint or suggestion box and try to let your employees know that their concerns will not collect dust. Opening your office door once in a while when you have a clear schedule lets your employees know that you are available.

Now personality is a tough one. You can’t fix personalities you don’t mesh with and you can’t force them to mesh with you. The only thing you can do is research how to handle personality types that test you and try to make the best of it. You hired that person for a reason, try to remember that and don’t let your personal feelings get in the way of supporting your employee.

Situational conversations will never become easier: Whether you’re the one giving or receiving it. Someone needs to do it though. Insperity has a list of things to remember when you are talking to employees about tough subjects.

Start making small changes, and soon the communication lines will be open between you and your employees.