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Five ways to deal with a breakdown in communication with the boss

Communication is key in any kind of relationship — personal or professional. A breakdown in communication can hamper an individual's productivity.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Apr 24, 2015, 10.19 AM IST
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Communication is key in any kind of relationship — personal or professional. A breakdown in communication can hamper an individual's productivity. (Image: Getty Images)
Communication is key in any kind of relationship — personal or professional. A breakdown in communication can hamper an individual's productivity. (Image: Getty Images)
Communication is key in any kind of relationship — personal or professional. A breakdown in communication can hamper an individual's productivity as well as that of the organisation, and should be resolved at the earliest. In a few cases, the team member and leader can set things right. But in extreme cases, intervention from the HR department is the only way out. At all levels, a balanced mind without any prejudices is very helpful.

1. Acknowledge the Breakdown

A thorough analysis before concluding a communication breakdown is essential for an executive as well as the team. An error in communication can occur at your end or that of the team leader. Be rational while defining the cause of the breakdown. "If your team lead was at fault, point it out in a subtle way and move on," Murali Padmanabhan, VP & Global Head of L&D, Virtusa Corporation.

2. Admit the Error

Be open in admitting the error in communication, and face it by communicating to your team leader. "Do not accept the 'silent treatment' as a way of life. Use the two magical words 'Let's talk'," says Hamsaz Vasunia, head, HR at DCB Bank. The e-mail route is best avoided. Have a face-to-face conversation instead.

3. Don't Get Emotional

Be practical. From the assessing the breakdown in communication to addressing and resolving the problem, one has to be open and calm. "Sometimes, excessive emotions stop the rational brain from functioning. So keep your anger or frustration in check. Talk it out when you feel more balanced," says Vasunia. "Share your views with your team leader in a logical manner," says Keyuri Singh, vice president-HR, Blue Star Infotech.

4. Iron Out Issues

"Your team lead will be equally keen to resolve the situation as it affects the work environment for the entire team," says Padmanabhan. One should take the lead in confronting the manager, adds Singh.

5. Escalate the Issue
When everything fails, it is best for the human resource team to step in, as a breakdown in communication can impact the whole organisation. "Discuss the situation in a dispassionate manner with the HR without getting personal. Get the HR to set up a three-way communication with your and the team leader," suggests Padmanabhan.

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