Barriers to Effective Communication

One of the single biggest barriers to effective communication ... Your office!


One of the barriers to effective communication, over which you have total control is personal contact!

Are You Guilty of Hiding Behind Technology?

In today's era of electronic communication, people frequently use email, text, and instant messaging as a substitute for face-to-face contact (and face-to-face can be online - but it needs to be real people talking to each other!) 

You wouldn't try to close a deal with a major customer via email. Yet, people have been known to attempt to handle sensitive or delicate issues, (for example, make significant organizational changes), by sending out an email. Then they wonder why their people are angry, and frustrated and the organization is in chaos.

One example is the sacking of 800 employees via a 3-minute pre-recorded Zoom video by P&O Ferries in the UK. The fallout of this strikingly poor piece of leadership will reverberate against this company for years to come. The backlash was swift and smart as appalled people - from politicians, to customers - have declared their disgust at P&O.

If you've been guilty of communicating messages like this via email, you've likely created the conditions for low commitment from your team members

Are you guilty of using technology to deliver messages you are uncomfortable with presenting face-to-face? 

Access Successful Feedback to get the skills to handle awkward discussions.

Regular Face-to-Face Contact Builds Rapport and Trust

You can't lead if you don't know your people. You need to know their hopes, beliefs, personality and how they react to decisions that impact them.  Most communication barriers in organizations are stripped away when you know your people. When you have taken the time to build rapport and trust. With this in mind, you build real rapport and trust when people can see your face. 

Much of our communication cues comes from facial expressions and tone of voice. Electronic mediums just don't convey these.

Despite this, some still prefer to send an email, or an instant message, to people who are only a few steps away.

In today's cut down organizations, leaders are exceptionally busy with heavy workloads. Nonetheless, please don't use that as an excuse. It is critical to remember that you are in a leadership position, and part of your moral imperative is to bring out the best in your people.

Hot Tip

The most important thing you can do

is to be accessible,

regularly meet with, 

and talk to your people. 

Get off your computer, and walk down the hallway - (and if you are working remotely, set up an online meeting just to 'chew the fat'. Connect with, and be a part of your team.

Then when it comes time to make substantial changes, or implement a new idea, people will be willing to go with you. This is because you have built trust. It becomes payback time... in the nicest possible way.

There is a place for all communication channels, electronic and real-life contact. Recognize that electronic should support, not replace face-to-face communication. 

When you choose your communication medium wisely, you give yourself the best shot at improving the performance, and engagement, of your people.

To sum up, when you take the time to get up and talk to your people, you'll eliminate one of the biggest barriers to effective communication. 

Related Articles

Have Your Say / Ask A Question

More Resources to Support Your 'Rockstar' Leadership Career

Become a Member

Access all the ebooks, checklists, templates and other resources in the gated area of the Make A Dent Club

Personal Development

Access 60+ free resources to help you shine. From emotional intelligence to mindset to understanding others

Improve Teams

Access 20+ articles on how to shift your team from performing to high-performing. These are proven techniques and tips

Influencing Others

From dealing with difficult people, to resolving conflict, to building stronger relationships, all the resources you need are here


Resources and articles to help you shift from being a good to a 'Rockstar' leader. Over 20 resources waiting to inspire you to new levels of performance

Culture & Change

Your team's culture is at the heart of your business performance. Designed to help you lead organizational culture change 

Templates & Checklists

Speed up your productivity and implementation with these checklists and templates


Visit the store to purchase the ebooks, e-courses that take you to another level


Quizzes and self-assessments to help you track your progress and where you need to focus