Do Your Employees Have a Shared Language?

by Dr. Rick Goodman on February 7, 2018

As you evaluate the team communication that goes on in your company—and as you brainstorm the best ways to enhance and improve it—it’s important to start with some fundamental questions. Are your team members really speaking the same language? Do they have a shared set of words and idioms to draw from—or are they on totally different pages?

It’s increasingly common for companies to have employees who are native English speakers, working alongside those who are not—and in some cases, that may lead to some communication barriers. But even if your native tongue isn’t an issue, there may still be instances of employees who work with different sets of jargon or who employ different kinds of shorthand—leading to potential breakdowns in the way your team collaborates.

Issues That Impede Team Communication

There are a number of ways in which language can create distance between your employees. The use of technical language and jargon is one such example. If you have different employees who practice different disciplines—some technical and some not—you may have occasions in which the language used in your office leaves certain employees behind.

In addition, most workplace teams develop their own shared language, buzzwords and short hand—but over time, the meanings can become diluted or vague. I’ve been in businesses where terms like “culture of service” and “failing forward”—to name just two random examples—were commonplace. Yet, if I’d taken a poll, I’ll bet different employees would have defined these terms in different ways, if they could define them at all.

Consistency with Your Language

You can imagine the problems that come from employees who don’t share a common vocabulary. As a business leader, it falls to you to set the tone—and one way you can do that is to be careful with your language.

Always aim for precision and for universal understanding. Avoid jargon when you can or provide educational resources to ensure that all employees know the basic technical terms your business uses. And for those internal catch-phrases, provide clarity and context; “culture of service” is fine, just so long as you have a set definition for it within your company’s mission statement or handbook.

As you seek effective team communication, remember that language is foundational—and you want all of your employees to be speaking the same one!

To learn more about improving your team communication, reach out to me today: Visit me online at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.

Dr. Rick GoodmanDo Your Employees Have a Shared Language?

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