communication problems at work

9 Workplace Communication Problems: How Can Managers Beat Them?

Communication is one of the critical components of teamwork. It allows individuals to share ideas and feedback, build relationships, and cooperate effectively. Unfortunately, communication problems in the workplace can hamper managerial efficiency and impede team productivity. To help you overcome communication challenges and improve workplace synergy, read for free tips on improving communication skills.

How do communication problems in the workplace affect managers?

Communication problems can seriously affect managers’ ability to manage their teams and carry out their responsibilities effectively. Communication problems lead to misunderstandings and frustrating interactions, which can impact team productivity and morale. In addition, ineffective communication can also cause managers to make bad decisions, which could lead to conflict and even unfair treatment towards some employees. They impair the flow of information and generate disturbed workflows that hurt the team’s productivity.

As a result, the growth prospects of a manager are set to suffer. In totality, the impact of communication problems can be seen in the following signs, which ultimately keep the teams away from their objectives:

Read more: 7 Great Effective Communication Hacks Every Manager Needs (With Examples)

What are the common communication problems in the workplace?

Workplace communication problems can range from limited verbal communication to poor teamwork. Misunderstandings, lack of trust, and failed negotiations can also cause them. A poor communicator can be prone to many of these issues. The best way to solve communication problems is through practical communication skills and learning how to problem-solve. That way, you can work through issues and find mutually beneficial and satisfactory solutions for all parties involved. Let us begin by understanding some common communication problems in the workplace that disrupt a manager:

Inactive listening

Passive listening is one of the most common communication problems in the workplace. It occurs when people pay attention to what another person is saying but don’t engage with them. It leads to misunderstandings and conflict. There are several ways to overcome this problem in the workplace. One way is to actively contribute to a conversation by asking questions or providing feedback about what has been said, whether verbally or nonverbally.

Another way is to avoid listening to others when you have something important that you want to share. Instead, take the time before a meeting or conference to prepare your thoughts and outline your goals for the discussion. By actively contributing to conversations at work, you can improve your communication skills and ensure smoother relationships with your colleagues.

How does it differ from active listening? Read more about active listening here.

Aggressive behavior

Aggressive behavior can limit workplace growth and prevent progress from being made. It can lead to a hostile work environment that is difficult to navigate. In addition, it can be costly and time-consuming for managers and employees. Several signs of aggressive behavior often indicate an issue that managers must address. For example, employees constantly interrupting others or talking over them in meetings could indicate aggressive behavior. Additionally, employees may exhibit unprofessional behaviors if they take credit for others’ work or make rude comments.

The best way to address aggressive behavior in the workplace is to address it before it becomes too severe. By listening carefully to what is going on around you and taking action when necessary, you can help foster a positive workplace culture and make progress towards your goals in productivity and efficiency.

If you are a manager who feels that they are falling into the trap of aggressive behavior to appear more confident, learn more about assertiveness. Assertive communication is helpful for managers and leaders to get their point across without taking over others in the conversation.


When it comes to communication, everyone has their own biases. These biases can limit the effectiveness of our communication and lead to conflict. For example, miscommunication can occur when one person misunderstands another person’s intentions or actions. A horn effect can lead a manager to always assume mal intention in a team member without reason. Miscommunication can also occur due to a lack of trust, mutual respect, empathy, or listening skills. All these issues stem from our internal biases, making it difficult to accurately understand and respond to others. The problem is compounded when different groups of people interact in the workplace. The solution is understanding and acknowledging biases so managers can actively work on challenging their impact.

One-way communication

One-way communication is a type of communication in which the sender only communicates with the receiver without any feedback or response from the receiver. It often happens when the sender is unwilling or unable to accept an answer. Instead, they keep on going on about their points. This type of communication leads heavily damages relationships in the workplace.

Managers are prone to developing a habit of one-way communication as they frequently assume the role of a leader. At times, demotivated team members might also enable one-way communication by not providing any response. In such situations, the manager needs to ensure that they are engaging their teams effectively in conversations and projects in general. They can ask for feedback, input, ideas, and opinions from the team members to keep them involved.


Miscommunication can occur when people misunderstand each other or when one party is not correctly conveying their intentions. It can be hard to figure out what caused the miscommunication, but often it is a result of a misunderstanding or a lack of communication skills.

Miscommunication commonly happens in workplace settings when all the parties do not share the same context and background information required to accurately process a piece of communication. It can also occur due to differing cultural backgrounds, wherein the same symbol can create two entirely different interpretations. Miscommunication is among the most common communication problems that managers face.

Hence, the solution is to view the matter from the receiver’s perspective and set the tone of the communication accordingly. Furthermore, managers can take additional steps to ensure that team members are appraised of the developments. For instance, they can provide notes and background information before meetings to ensure they can directly jump to the pertinent matter and no one faces difficulty in understanding it.

Lack of communication mechanism

Communication problems can be a significant obstacle to growth. Lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings and conflict. Without a functional communication mechanism, teams can fall into chaos as there would be no clear line to follow. In addition, it causes inefficient workflows and poor performance. Communication skills need to be developed to address this problem, and team managers must implement a communication plan. This plan should include creating channels for feedback, establishing clear roles and responsibilities, and regularly communicating goals and objectives.

Another solution is creating communication channels such as meetings, email chains, and social media groups. These channels allow for effective communication between teams and information sharing and ideas. Finally, setting up a system for feedback provides for regular reviews of the effectiveness of communication efforts.

Irregularity in communication

Irregular communication can lead to misunderstandings and conflict in the workplace. When communication is inconsistent, sharing information and coordinating activities becomes difficult. It decreases the productivity of teams and increases the stress of team members. While seemingly better than no communication, irregular communication does not allow workflows to set in. As a result, team members might find themselves unsure of the information they need to convey and how.

Proximity bias in hybrid teams

Proximity bias is the tendency to favor people nearby in space or time. It is common in hybrid teams, where team members are from different locations or times. In hybrid teams, communication is key for effective teamwork. However, it cannot be easy to communicate when team members are from different locations or times. For example, a manager might directly go to a team member in the office instead of setting up a call with a remote worker. As a result, all team members do not enjoy equal access to information and opportunity, hampering smooth workflow.

To overcome this problem, hybrid teams require a lot of communication, and that too with planning. Managers can read more about proximity bias and communication in hybrid teams to overcome this communication problem at work.

Hesitation among team members

Team members may hesitate to share information when communication is irregular or delayed. Hesitation can prevent team members from coming up with new ideas and solutions. It also decreases work efficiency as teams cannot make decisions quickly. Effective communication requires a lot of planning and cooperation among team members to overcome this problem. Managers can also look into icebreakers to ensure that team members are open to communication and do not keep their thoughts to themselves. The key to resolving such communication problems is the manager adopting the role of a facilitator in communication in their teams.

In addition to the communication barriers that make communication challenging for teams, these issues can typically impact managers. Often, as a result of these problems, teams lose out on productivity. Hence, managers must ensure that they are solving these communication problems in their teams.

Improve your communication skills for free with Risely

Communication is vital in the workplace, but communication problems can lead to misunderstandings and frustration. It can hinder team productivity and creativity if you cannot communicate your ideas and opinions effectively. This can result in poor morale and diminishing employee satisfaction. Poor communication also causes conflict and tension, negatively impacting workplace morale and efficiency. Therefore, improving your communication skills is essential to manage relationships at work better.

Risely helps managers overcome communication problems with their teams and solve many other people management challenges that limit productivity. Try out Risely today to discover your hidden potential!


Workplace communication has become an increasingly important skill in this fast-paced professional environment. With the advancement of technology and digitization, workplace communication has changed in many ways. However, most people still find themselves facing typical communication problems at work. Therefore, learning practical communication skills is a great place to start. Besides, practicing face-to-face communication skills is vital for effective workplace communication. However, practicing actively and through assessments is best to get the most out of it.

Is your communication safe from the troubles listed above?

Test your communication skills for free with a self-assessment designed for high-performing managers

Communication Challenges at Work FAQs

What are the common communication issues in the workplace?

Common Communication Issues in the Workplace include misinterpretation, lack of clarity, poor listening, information overload, cultural differences, nonverbal misalignment, and technological glitches often lead to misunderstandings, decreased productivity, and strained relationships among colleagues.

How do you deal with communication problems at work?

Address issues promptly through open dialogue, active listening, and clarifying expectations. Use appropriate communication channels, consider diverse perspectives, and encourage feedback. Foster a culture of transparent and respectful communication.

What are the 7 barriers to communication?

7 Barriers to Communication:
Physical Barriers: Distance, noise, or lack of access to communication tools.
Semantic Barriers: Language and terminology differences leading to confusion.
Psychological Barriers: Prejudices, biases, and emotional states affecting understanding.
Cultural Barriers: Differing values, norms, and communication styles.
Organizational Barriers: Hierarchical structures or inadequate channels hindering flow.
Attitudinal Barriers: Closed-mindedness, defensiveness, or lack of empathy.
Technological Barriers: Issues with technology disrupting effective communication.

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