I have found through my work with clients that communication can be blamed for almost everything that goes wrong. An employee is irritated with their boss because they have not received any feedback on their performance but they have never asked their boss directly for this feedback; a boss is frustrated with their employee because their performance is not up to the standards they desire but they have never communicated that to them; a team is frustrated with other members on the team because they are not carrying their share of the load but they have never addressed this with the team as a whole; the list could go on and on!

Communication is hard work! In any relationship and in any setting it is often the factor that makes or breaks a relationship. At work we do not hold our selves to the same standards as we do in our personal relationships. Instead of addressing conflict we avoid it. Instead of asking for clarification of expectations we continue on hoping we will pull it off in the end somehow.

If you want your work relationships to work you have to force yourself to communicate the same way you force yourself in your most intimate personal relationships. Conflict is okay and working through the conflict produces stronger relationships. If a conflict causes a work relationship to end, meaning you decide to leave or are let go, you probably saved yourself several months if not years of stress that you could really do better without.

When something is not working with your boss, with your employee, with your team, have the courage to talk about it. Use non-accusatory language, take responsibility for what is your in the mess, and address it.