Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

Workplace Communication: How to Deal With Workplace “Snipers”

March 10th, 2021

Effective communication skills in the workplace lower stress and improve productivity. However, some employees can sabotage a positive workplace atmosphere with their negative communication habits. For example:

A supervisor observes her employee looking around nervously and then ducking behind the copy machine.

“What are you doing?”, she asks.

A timid voice comes from behind the copy machine, “Avoiding snipers.”

Communication Snipers In the Workplace

First, let me be clear. I’m not talking about military sharpshooters, I’m talking about the every day communication snipers. The ones in the workplace.

Workplace snipers are highly trained marksmen (or women) who shoot verbal targets from concealed positions.

They have had specialized training in verbal communication attacks such as:

humorous put downs,
disapproving looks
and innuendos.
Ok. So, your employees may not have to play “Duck and Cover” at your workplace, but they may feel like it sometimes, and that’s the worst thing they can do.

Workplace Communication Snipers Thrive on Negativity

Avoiding confrontation allows the snipers to get away with their covert hostility. Some people are just plain negative. They may have learned to act that way while growing up, or may have been rewarded for it later in life. Either way, they now make it a way of life – going about their day making trouble for those around them.

Snipers may not actually want to be too hurtful. They just have a poor way of dealing with relationships because they have learned that negative communication gives them an “edge.” So they use their verbal communication weapons to protect their territory, and keep anyone else from messing with them.

Unfortunately, this can have a negative effect on their workplace relationships, causing unnecessary conflict and tension. While snipers may feel they are gaining an “edge,” other employees wind up “feeling on edge” because of the problems they create.

People may find themselves tiptoeing around workplace snipers, keeping their distance, or avoiding them altogether. Their negativity has a destructive effect on the workplace atmosphere.

To Deal With Them, Learn this Communication Skill

Snipers usually refute their pot shots as either denial, “I’m only joking”, or volleying the responsibility back onto their victim, “Can’t you take a joke?”

Avoidance is not the answer. Here’s the secret to defusing them…

Train your employees to respond to these comments with a question.

“That sounds like you’re making fun of me. Are you?”
“What are you trying to tell me with that look?”
“Did you really mean what you said?”
Since verbal snipers rely on their camouflage, once their cover is blown, the chance for future attacks is lessened.

Dealing with negative communication is an essential leadership skill for supervisors and managers.

Being comfortable in the workplace is not only essential for employee job satisfaction, it’s also essential for quality productivity.

If you are a supervisor or manager, hold a communication skills training session with all your employees. This will alert any snipers that this type of negative communication won’t be tolerated. Your staff will appreciate your help and respect you for your leadership skills.

Visit to get instant access to our free Leadership Quiz.

Discover how effective are you as a supervisor or manager in the essen

Workplace Communication – How To Make The Best Use of It

March 10th, 2021

In its simplest form, communication is a system for sending and receiving messages. And when we do any of that within the workplace, as we do every day, we have “workplace communication”. How do we make the best use of it?

To understand what workplace communication is, one needs to first understand what communication itself is. Communication is a giving or exchanging of information, signals, or messages by talk, gestures, writing, etc., to give information and messages.

Communication is a process we use to have and keep a meaningful relationship. It is a system for sending and receiving messages as by telephone, telegraph, radio, etc… It is a system of routing for moving things from one place to another. It is the art of expressing ideas, especially in speech and writing. It is the science of transmitting information in symbol. It is all of these things and more.

Like all other basic communication, it needs to be developed, practiced and improved on a continuing basis. In the workplace, because we spend a large part of our daily lives at work, we first need the ability to communicate with others.

Within workplace communication we need to manage ourselves, our co-workers, our bosses, our suppliers and customers. We need to establish, cultivate and nurture business and personal relationships effectively and successfully.

How do we do that? For many, it does not come naturally. We get irritated by things and by people around us. We get frustrated if we cannot express ourselves properly. Many folks find it very hard to have any kind of relationship, let alone one at work. We often hear of conflicts, sometimes ending with tragic results.

One thing we all have in common: we all have to work at workplace communication. Some of us come into the workplace more equipped than others, some less. We decide what we need and initiate ourselves in the learning process. We may have to learn to communicate with diplomacy for example.

We may need to learn to become more persuasive communicators. We may need to learn to become better leaders in our own lives and in our own departments. We may need to learn to reduce stress in difficult situations, or in our overloaded responsibilities.

Whether we deal with our co-workers or our employees, we can improve workplace communication by learning to give and get constructive feedback. But first, we need to learn to be assertive. We need to be able to make contact with others and open up a conversation. We need to be interesting by reading interesting things that we can talk about, relating to our business. We need to smile more.

Workplace communication should flow from one person to another, from one department to another, from top management to bottom management.

Workplace communication takes many forms. It is verbal, nonverbal, written. It uses many means such as telephone, letters, memos, computers, Internet. Email has become the most common forms of workplace communication.

All of the above have one thing in common. It can all be learned. Whatever we are missing in workplace communication we can learn. We only need to be aware of it, be mindful of it and take the initiative to learn it an