Good leaders recognize that team communication can either help or hinder overall employee engagement and performance.
A certain level of conflict is inevitable in any diverse organization – simply due to differing values, viewpoints, temperaments, experiences, and agendas. In the case of situational or external factors, conflict can arise out of competition for resources, recognition or growth opportunities as well as organizational changes or restructuring. An optimal level of workplace conflict is not only healthy and normal, but can often serve to generate innovation, creativity and progress.
However, ongoing or unaddressed conflict, due to dysfunctional communication, poor leadership, misconceptions, distorted perceptions and internal biases, can quickly escalate and exert a strong negative impact on other individuals, or whole teams or divisions within a workplace. Unhealthy conflict can lead to decreased team morale and performance, increased stress, and increased criticism and finger-pointing. In extreme cases, if left unchecked, poor communication can give rise to heated confrontations, bullying and social exclusion – all of which are highly detrimental to any environment.
So what are the real impacts of poor communication? More importantly, what can we do as leaders to not only mitigate these, but actually enhance overall communication and collaboration to build a positive and productive workplace?