Good communication skills are required every single day in the workplace—and if you lack communication skills, you’re putting your reputation at risk. Take a look at the synonyms for “reputation,” below. It will give you a better idea of just how high those stakes really are:
As a professional, your name and status are everything. If you regularly miscommunicate with your superiors, co-workers, employees, or clients, you can be sure your bad reputation will precede you—and in the long term, this can be disastrous for your professional relationships and your career. Let’s take a closer look at the five consequences of poor communication:
1- You May Be Misunderstood
One of the more obvious consequences of being a poor communicator is that you will frequently be misunderstood—and as a professional, you simply can’t afford that.
If the statements you make are misread, misinterpreted, or misconstrued due to your poor communication skills, rumors and gossip may begin to circulate. Worse still, you may come across as prejudiced, sexist, or racist. People have become finely tuned to others’ insensitivities, of which the fallout can be great. Being a professional requires polish, not only when giving formal presentations but during more casual and personal interactions as well.
2- You May Be Less Informed
If you’re a poor communicator, you will also become less informed. Let’s explore why.
First, poor communicators also tend to be poor listeners. Do you get distracted easily? Do you interrupt? Do you jump to conclusions? Do you move forward without really understanding the issues at hand? These are the hallmarks of poor listeners, and if others see these attributes in you, you can count on them learning to intentionally leave you out. Your peers may find that cutting you out of the loop is just easier. Rather than dealing with your lack of listening (and, therefore, your lack of understanding), others may decide it’s not worth their time to keep you up on scheduling, office politics, project concerns, or training efforts.
3- You May Create Uncertainty
Working successfully with other personalities and backgrounds requires communication that is open, honest, genuine, and crystal clear. These qualities of good communication build confidence, teamwork, and loyalty. They are imperative when building highly effective teams.
Lack of communication is a breeding ground for conflict and tension, both of which lead to employees with low morale and low confidence in their leader and team. These employees have decreased productivity and performance because they don’t see the point of trying hard if their efforts aren’t recognized and valued. Eventually, your team will be compromised and turnover will increase.
4- You May Not Get the Support You Need
Poor communicators have a hard time getting the support they need from others. Whether you need to hit a metric, require others to back you up on a hard issue, or need some help to ease work-related stress, it’s important to have support at work—but how will anyone know what you need from them if they can’t understand you?
Another nasty side effect of being a poor communicator is that the people you work with may not want to support you, even if they’re aware that you need help. Think about it. Why would anyone want to be associated with someone who has a poor professional reputation? What this often means is that your peers won’t associate with you because it could end up hurting their own reputations. Helping you is too risky.
5- You May Be Passed Up for Projects and Promotions
When you are misunderstood and uninformed, create uncertainty, and possess a lack of support from others, you’re in a prime position to be passed up for projects and promotions.
Good communication has numerous benefits. When you communicate well, you earn the respect of your peers. Others will learn they can trust you to be honest, say what you mean, listen when spoken to, and be appropriate in every instance. Being trustworthy makes others want to work with you. In short, good communication skills help you earn your good name and get you where you want to go in your career.