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  • John Macedo

HAVING COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS?

Updated: Apr 13

Maybe you're not speaking the common language. As Construction workers - Supervisors or Labourers - we always find ourselves in a situation that requires describing tasks to each other. However, communicating well can sometimes be a problem which is why we have written some tips to guide you.


We've noticed along the years dealing with Project Managers, Construction Foremen and Labourers that multiple communication problems happen while information is sent down the ranks. Sometimes the parts simply don't understand each other.


In this article we will explore the nature of this problem and how to solve it by meeting the everyone where they're at, Language wise.


At this point, I would like you to imagine that you’re a mechanical engineer who delivers the plans to a team of welders in a factory.


Imagine they all read it but have an issue understanding what you have presented.

You can see that isn’t a situation you would like to find yourself.



You may try to simplify the plan by showing different angles to help them understand better. But eventually, you will get a response like “please can you come up and show us where the welds go”.


This can be really annoying!

But remember: When workers understand your instruction or ideas, it sticks with them. And not every worker has the same language/knowledge arsenal so you have to always communicate in a way your workers understand, regardless if that means the spoken language, gestures or actually showing them what to do.


The same apply when speaking with people in the same rank or even above: Use the words, expressions and vocabulary that is coherent with the receiving part level.


This simple trick, that sometimes is even done unconsciously, results in a change of behaviour that can benefit your work and the company.



Our suggestion is: make it conscious and take it to the next level.



THE NEXT LEVEL:

In our example above you will realise:


  • The drawing you presented becomes the language you speak.

  • You understand they drawings, but your team doesn’t.

  • Due to a lack of a common language, you will have to explain everything or the project will fail.

  • In the end, you can see that poor communication only leads to more work.



Your workers need to be able to read the plans easily. If your workers can’t read your plans (not even the simplified ones), consider teaching them.


To do this, you will need to allocate time, prepare printed materials, and let them take notes and ask questions


Even though it might sound like a waste of time, never forget that Slow is smooth, smooth is fast”. You may "lose" this time but easily recover it along the way. Read more about it here


Even though we've used an example that involving complex plans, this problem can happen everyday - in different scenarios and different proportions. I am sure you can think of situations this is happening in your own company.


A QUICK FIX:

In a situation that you're not confident about how your message is being received, ask the listener to explain BACK what was said, using their words. This will allow them to express their idea and you will be able to double-check their understanding of the matter.

Never forget how to deliver a feedback neither. Learn more about it here.



WHAT CAN BE ACHIEVED

  • Improving team building: Good communication creates better teams. By speaking in a way that everyone understands, workers feel more comfortable working with you.


  • It increases innovation: when there is a clear communication path, you and your workers can discuss and come up with brilliant ideas. By discussing with workers, you allow room for innovative ideas to appear.


  • It improves productivity: with good communication, you can understand your workers better. You can appropriately delegate tasks to workers because they fully understand you and you understand their skills and talents.



If instructions aren’t passed properly, mistakes will occur and will destroy your short-term results. On the other hand, with good communication on the long-term, there will be way less need to clarify of correct issues.


CONCLUSION


The division of labour is the best way to get things done.

Delegating task is the core on which division of labour is founded but that's not what we are here to discuss. However, you can read this up here.


This creates the need for good communication between the supervisor and the workers. As different minds contribute to making the job great, there needs to be flows of information to enable everyone work in sync.


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JOHN MACEDO

Founder and Director.
I believe together we can create a "people first"

Australian Construction Industry 

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