Examples of Poor Communication in the Workplace

Effective communication and problem-solving skills within a company can indicate its overall health. Maintaining a positive work environment and driving results are dependent on healthy workplace communication as well as keeping up employee morale.

Poor communication style can impair an organization and adversely affect the entire staff. Learning to identify ineffective communication habits and replace them with more effective ones can have a positive impact on productivity and potentially lead to financial success.

poor communication

Passive Aggressive Communication

Passive-aggressive communication: the sneaky saboteur of workplace morale, silently tearing down self-esteem and relationships. The recipient of the communication is left feeling consistently ignored and mistreated, leading to irreparable damage to the relationship.

In the workplace, passive-aggressive behavior can manifest in various ways, such as employees or leaders choosing not to engage in direct communication with a co-worker. This can be seen when individuals exclusively use email or memos to communicate, without ever speaking face to face. Another form of passive-aggressive behavior is intentionally avoiding a project or working with someone on a specific task, without providing a valid reason.

Intimidation in the Workplace

Intimidation tactics are like poison, spreading negativity and fear throughout the workplace. A boss who bullies their employees will see their team evaporate faster than water on a hot summer day. The fierce battle for a promotion can breed a toxic cocktail of intimidation among co-workers. This unsettling behavior can manifest through aggressive verbal communication or intimidating physical gestures. Intimidation tactics come in various forms, from thunderous voices that shake your eardrums, to territorial invasions of your workspace, or even encroaching so closely into your personal space that it leaves you feeling uneasy.

The Blame Game

Failure to take ownership of a mistake or accept responsibility for a missed deadline is a clear sign of ethical shortcomings and a lack of accountability. Instead of pointing fingers, let’s shift our focus toward finding innovative solutions that benefit us all. Embrace the power of accepting responsibility and forging ahead towards positive solutions! Those who persist in pointing fingers and refusing to accept responsibility for their failures are setting themselves up for a lonely and isolated future, as they alienate those around them and sabotage valuable connections.

Failing to Listen

In business, leaders and employees need to communicate effectively and listen to those around them. Failure to listen, including not listening to your customer base, can result in poor communication and negative outcomes. If you ignore the cries of your customers and fail to address their concerns, you can kiss their loyalty goodbye as they sprint toward your competitors. Unlock the secret to winning over your customers’ hearts by being the attentive competitor who not only listens but also goes above and beyond to meet their every need.

When you ignore your co-workers in the office, it’s like stepping on their feelings and crushing the value of relationships. Picture this: employees raise a concern, but the manager doesn’t bother to dig deeper or address the issue. This neglect allows problems to thrive and leaves employees feeling like their thoughts are insignificant. Workers crave a sense of worth and yearn to be hailed as indispensable champions of the company’s mission.

Common Workplace Communication Problems 

When it comes to relationships, a lack of communication can lead straight to heartbreak city! Effective communication is the key to unlocking success in the workplace. When communication falters, efficiency plummets and your wallet takes a hit. Without a healthy flow of communication, employees feel like mere pawns in the game, unmotivated and uninspired to think outside the box. But wait, there’s more! Miscommunication can even cause teams to go off track and leave your customers feeling like they’re stuck in a never-ending maze of confusion. Don’t let poor communication be the villain in your workplace story.

communication at work

There are multiple indicators of a company experiencing communication issues, but fortunately, there are solutions available. In the following, we will examine seven prevalent workplace communication problems and provide strategies to resolve them.

Remote Work Communication Barriers

According to Gartner, after the pandemic, approximately 51% of U.S. knowledge workers are working in a hybrid environment, while 20% are fully remote. Remote work has its advantages for both employees and employers, but it can also present some communication challenges.

Lack of in-person interaction between remote team members

Team members working on different schedules and across different time zones

Team members are unsure where to find information

Strategies to Overcome Remote Work Communication Barriers

Video conferencing solutions, such as Zoom, have become valuable tools for facilitating face-to-face communication among team members who are unable to be in the same physical location. However, organizations should also consider providing tools for asynchronous collaboration, as employees may experience fatigue from excessive use of video conferencing or may need to communicate while working on different schedules. As an example, team members have the option to record and share videos of their project updates when immediate input is not required, or subject matter experts can document responses to commonly asked questions and distribute them. Keep all this valuable content in one convenient, easy-to-use knowledge hub, so everyone in the organization can find what they need in a snap, without the hassle of searching through a bunch of different places or bothering the experts.

Team or Department Knowledge Silos

Teams or departments frequently develop their platforms or systems for storing content and knowledge. While this may facilitate communication within teams, it can lead to the formation of knowledge siloes throughout the organization. Knowledge silos can result in various negative consequences.

Missed opportunities for cross-functional collaboration

Misalignment around goals

Time wasted searching for information that exists in other parts of the organization

Duplication of work completed by another team

Strategies to Overcome Knowledge Silos

Using a company-wide knowledge management platform can solve communication challenges caused by knowledge silos. It makes knowledge sharing more efficient and increases the visibility of work across the organization. Bringing together different perspectives and ideas improves collaboration and innovation.

If your teams need their own secret lair to share top-secret or super-specific info, find a mind-blowing knowledge management platform that lets you set up mind-blowing company-wide and team knowledge-sharing spaces. Take Bloomfire for example, it lets you create Groups so that different teams or departments can speedily access mind-blowingly relevant info while still having access to the mind-blowing company knowledge base. Mind-blowing, right?

Information Hoarding

Within a company, there may be individuals who are seen as the primary sources of information. Employees may frequently seek out these individuals for answers or may struggle to identify who to approach for necessary project information. When individuals leave the company, it may be unfortunate to realize that they are taking a significant amount of institutional knowledge with them.

People may not intentionally accumulate knowledge. In many cases, individuals may not prioritize documenting their knowledge or feel constrained by limited availability. However, information hoarding can have negative consequences on collaboration and communication.

Strategies to Overcome Information Hoarding

One effective method to encourage knowledge sharing is to simplify the process for individuals to do so. This can be achieved by providing templates for subject matter experts to complete or allowing them to share their knowledge in the format that suits them best, such as through a video, slide deck, or written document.

Employees need to understand the benefits of sharing their knowledge. One benefit may be saving time in the long term, as subject matter experts can document answers to frequently asked questions. This eliminates the need for them to continuously answer the same question. Additionally, external incentives such as shout-outs or quarterly prizes can be offered to encourage employees to develop the habit of sharing their knowledge.

Assumptions and Misinterpretations

Misunderstandings at work happen when employees assume others will handle a project the same way they would, leading to confusion and subpar work. Assumptions usually stem from poor communication from management.

Strategies to Overcome Assumptions

As a department or team leader, it is important to demonstrate clear communication to prevent assumptions from derailing collaborative efforts. During meetings with action items, it is beneficial to repeat those action items before attendees leave and ensure that everyone comprehends their responsibilities and next steps. Additionally, when someone shares an idea with you, it is advisable to paraphrase it back to them and inquire if your understanding is accurate. Please ask questions for clarification when needed. It is recommended to schedule regular status updates and prioritize clear communication.

overcome assumptions

Use of Terminology or Jargon

It is common for individuals to begin using industry or company-specific terminology or abbreviations, particularly if their business provides technical or intricate products or services. For certain employees, particularly those who are new to the company, understanding this language can pose a challenge. This can make it particularly tough for them to locate resources or find answers to their questions, as they may not be familiar with the terminology used by content creators or subject matter experts in their titles, tags, or file names.

Strategies to Overcome Heavy Use of Jargon

One method for decreasing misunderstandings and improving information accessibility is to minimize the use of specialized language and promote the use of terminology that all employees in the organization can comprehend. Nonetheless, implementing this approach can be challenging, particularly when jargon or technical terms are ingrained in the daily operations of various teams.

When it comes to tackling this challenge, why not opt for a knowledge management platform that goes above and beyond? Look no further than Bloomfire! With its innovative features, you can bid farewell to limited search results based on file names or tags. Bloomfire lets you create your very own synonym library, ensuring that whether you’re after “ALTS” or “Alternative Components,” you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. It’s time to take your search game to the next level!

Lack of Feedback

Illuminate your employees with clear and constant feedback, ensuring they never feel lost in the shadows of their work. Providing regular feedback to your employees is crucial. Waiting until their annual performance review is not enough. Without consistent feedback, your employees may miss the mark and become increasingly frustrated, ultimately leading to higher turnover rates in your workplace. Replacing an employee is no joke – it’ll set you back a pretty penny, costing anywhere from a staggering one-half to a mind-blowing two times their annual salary!

Strategies to Improve Feedback

Stay on top of your game as a manager by consistently connecting with your team and providing timely feedback. Don’t let the communication flow falter! Don’t be a negative Nelly! Managers with poor communication skills miss out on the chance to give props when employees go above and beyond but are quick to lay on the criticism when they don’t. This negativity leaves top performers feeling unappreciated and ready to jump ship to a company that knows how to show some love.

When giving negative feedback, be constructive and specific about areas for improvement. Engage in a conversation with your team members and encourage them to ask questions.

Lack of Psychological Safety

According to a series of interviews with over 200 tech workers, it was found that not all employees feel comfortable expressing concerns or sharing ideas openly. Nearly half of the workers chose to withhold information that could potentially benefit their company. The researchers conducting the interviews noted that one common reason for this behavior was the perception of personal and immediate risk associated with speaking up, while the potential benefits of sharing the information remained uncertain.

To create a workplace culture that encourages employees to freely share ideas and knowledge, it is important to establish psychological safety. This means creating an environment where people can openly contribute and have their ideas evaluated without fear of negative consequences.

Strategies to Improve Psychological Safety

Begin promoting psychological safety by showing employees that there are no negative consequences for expressing their ideas and that there are significant benefits for sharing valuable ideas. According to an article for Fast Company, digital strategist Lawrence Scotland discussed how his organization implemented a company-wide challenge known as the “Innovation Lab.” During this challenge, employees were encouraged to collaborate with their teams to develop and present ideas to a panel of senior executives. The executives provided feedback, and the most promising ideas were given the necessary support to be implemented.

Various small actions can be taken to promote psychological safety. For instance, dedicating a few minutes at the start of meetings for team members to engage in small talk and foster better relationships. This will enhance trust and create an environment where individuals feel more at ease communicating with one another. One way to promote knowledge sharing is by posting your project learnings on the knowledge management platform and inviting team members to provide feedback and share their insights in the comments.


Effective communication can be challenging. Creating authentic connections necessitates commitment, effort, and receptiveness. Open communication offers numerous advantages, such as enhancing employee satisfaction, fostering collaborative efforts on innovative ideas, and facilitating the acquisition of new skills that align with company objectives.

By following the tips provided, employees can establish strong relationships with each other and with their employer, leading to increased productivity and a positive work environment.

Do you have questions about becoming hybrid working spaces or other tech fields or the like, or want to embark on a new career path or anything else workplace-related?

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