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Communication Breakdown Causing Grief? Ask Your Workplace These Six Questions

Written by Karen Muggleton

Communication in the workplace struggles when relationship uncertainty exists. This uncertainty can start in any number of ways: Someone feels left out, they were unsure about something another person said, and didn’t follow up for fear of looking like they’re missing something obvious. Irrespective of the reason, when someone doesn’t feel connected, trusted, and safe, the sympathetic nervous system  (the one that causes flight or fight) activates, causing the heart rate to rise, the body to tense up, and the mind to focus on threats (real or perceived).  Communication and resulting relationships can’t work with those internal events in place? With their sympathetic nervous system firing, this person doesn’t have the conversations they know they need to have because they don’t feel connected enough, and this in turn fuels the decline of more opportunities to connect. With less opportunities to connect, relationship uncertainty increases. And thus, the downward spiral of communication continues.

If you have ever been in one of these communication breakdown spirals, you know that one or both parties can feel hopeless, isolated and discouraged. However, it is possible to climb out of the communication breakdown spiral. It takes time, effort, and loads of self-awareness, but we’ve seen it be done time and time again.

Whether you are in one of these communication breakdown spirals or want to avoid starting one, here are six questions to ask yourself about connection in your work place.

Six Questions for The Workplace to Consider to Drive Connection:

  1. Are there enough opportunities for light connections?
  2. How is the general wellbeing of your people doing?
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how connected would you rate your workplace?
  4. Are there too many or not enough deadlines?
  5. Is there too much ‘doing’ and not enough ‘being’?
  6. Do messages get checked-in on or reinforced?

With the guidance of these questions, you and your team can make the necessary efforts to avoid or climb out of a communication breakdown spiral.

Need practical tips for putting these six questions into action? Download the FREE tip sheet here:

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If you would like support in avoiding or getting out of a communication breakdown spiral, we are here to help. People Alignment helps you unlock your values, so that you can not only understand your personal balance in giving feedback, but also so you can build healthy connections with your people.