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2 min read

The Causes of Poor and Ineffective Communication in the Workplace

Poor communications in the workplace can result in friction, frustration, confusion and an extremely tense environment wherein people are not motivated to be productive and are not inspired to collaborate. This lack of motivation can then spill over to how staff members relate to clients and potential customers.


When poor communication occurs, it is not enough to simply point out particular issues and challenges. In order to truly be able to counter the effects of poor communication, it is important to look into its causes. By realizing and learning these cases, companies may be able to solve issues at the root so as to stifle the further progression of the disintegration of communication lines in the workplace.

Here are some of the common causes of poor communications in the workplace:

1. Objectives are not clear

While a well-worded job description given along with a job offer is certainly welcomed, it is not enough. Make sure to have a face-to-face discussion with an employee in order to go through his or her responsibilities and the expectations that go along with his or her job. If an organization fails to do this, not only could this lead to confusion and frustration, a staff member may end up underperforming without meaning to.

Along with the expectations that go hand in hand with their positions, employees also need to be made aware of the purpose and goals of the whole company itself. By doing this, not only will communications in the workplace improve, staff members are able to align themselves with the objectives of the company so they can be contributors to its progress and success.

2. Poor leadership

Staff members look to business owners and their managers for direction. However, if people given managerial roles are poor leaders, it is highly likely that communication in the workplace will deteriorate. While good leaders are able to be good examples and are able to motivate staff members, poor and incompetent leaders are indecisive and are unable to inspire their team. They may also be so bad at communication that they are unable to answer questions and clarify points so much so that their subordinates are left even more confused and frustrated than when they started.

3. Cultural diversity in the workplace

The world is getting smaller, and work environments are getting more and more diverse. It is not unusual to find individuals from different cultures, races, religious beliefs, genders and others working in the same workspace, for the same company. While diversity is certainly a good development, it does present a few challenges – including the potential for poor communications in the workplace.

Different people from different backgrounds will relay messages in different ways, with varied nonverbal cues. Interpretations of messages will be different as well. For example, “crossing your fingers” may mean “hoping for good luck” in America; however, it is an obscene gesture in Vietnam.

4. Demoralized employees

When staff members lose interest in their work and the organization, they are considered to be demoralized. An employee who is demoralized feels unvalued, unappreciated, and even disrespected and disregarded despite their capacities and talents. He or she tends to be unproductive and irritable, and are more likely to look for opportunities elsewhere instead of helping the company move forward.

5. Personal issues and challenges of employees

While employees should only be concentrating on work while at the workplace, some may be distracted by their own personal issues and challenges, such as a death in the family or divorce. Due to distractions and personal issues, a staff member may communicate the wrong way, and react in a negative fashion. When you notice this occurrence, make sure to give your employees time off so they can deal with their personal issues.

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