Assumptions: the best way to ruin a business relationship for no reason at all. We give too much credit to assumptions as if they are the sole commands made through telepathy as if it were a valid form of communication. Assumptions arise from the space encompassing the silence of a question never asked. They are a filler to excuse ourselves of our own inability to ask specific, pointed questions. Of course, when you act on assumptions, you’re acting on nothing more than a wild guessing game. It’s like going to a casino, believing you have a trick to the slot machine, but deep down you’re just hoping to get lucky.
The results of these assumptions can be devasting because it connects your own image of what someone said and confusing that image with what’s there.
Any good business needs all details explained from the get-go. And any good employee knows to ask questions when appropriate. But even when you try, communication mistakes still occur. So here are the 2 most common communication errors in the workplace.
All jobs require training. The amount of experience the employee has does not matter, no business can get away with hiring an employee, and pretending they already know everything. Of course, you can use their resume to go over what they know and don’t know and set expectations on how quickly training will go based on their skillset, but they need to be introduced to the office culture, rules, regulations, equipment, code of conduct, and anything else that is relevant to your business.
Skipping this step (and too many businesses do this) because you don’t have the time or resources or whatever, is non-negotiable. And if you have employees who are not trained properly, that means you are under no condition to reprimand them for any mistakes they make, because they were never told otherwise. Lack of training also means your workplace will run much less efficiently and it can hurt your bottom line.
They’re My Friend
I see this problem a lot. Perhaps you are partnering with someone who is a close friend of yours. You decide not to have a contract because you trust each other so well. Next thing you know? The deal flops and, one side accuses the other of not pulling their weight, and because they’re friends, forgiveness is expected, and then the deal and the friendship goes down the toilet.
No matter how close you are with an individual, businesses cannot afford exceptions. Hold your friends to the same process as you hold all your other collaborators or clients. You can give them deals and benefits, but write them down and make all agreements in writing, and make it specific. It could prevent both a business disaster and a personal one as well.
Communication and organization go hand in hand. You want every detail of your business in writing and filed appropriately. When you communicate with your employees, remember to curate a supportive environment and make it clear that questions are not only allowed, but encouraged. Instead of asking “do you have any questions” after explaining an assignment, try asking “what questions do you have?”, that little change can make a huge difference, and save you and your employees a lot of time and energy.