Managing Stress with Effective Communication within the Workplace

Most of us can think of one person in our life that seems to be able to easily and clearly express themselves, communicate their needs, and sometimes even disagree with the opinions of others, without upsetting the other person or being met with undue resistance. Read on if you identify with a little of this communication envy and find yourself wondering “why not me!?”


Perhaps you find yourself envying others who seem to action all the above and so well. At the same time, perhaps feel that you just could not express your own needs assertively and with confidence? You may even feel you are not worthy enough for your needs to be considered or met within the workplace, whether it be applying for a promotion or requesting a salary increase.

A few signs that you may have struggled with effective communication of your needs within the workplace:

> Experiencing that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when there is uncertainty within the workplace.
> Dread speaking to your line manager about your feelings or needs in relation to work matters.
> Whatever you do seems to never be good enough.
> Always having the negatives pointed out but not the positives.
> Feel you are micromanaged and tend to feel suffocated often.
> Avoid going into work or find yourself feeling anxious and worrying the night before.
> Feeling overwhelmed and losing your sense of self on the weekends.
> Experiencing a significant lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy doing.
> Avoid certain areas within the workplace or people at work due to fear of failure or judgement.
> Making excuses to not attend a social work event or withdrawal from the team.
> Unsure how you are preforming within your role.
> Feeling frustrated because you require additional support and resources within the business to meet your job requirements
> Feel that you do not understand, or have not been provided clear and specific goals, objectives, and measurable outcomes
> Thinking – “damned if I do, damned if I don’t”.


Uncertainty and anxiety can result in pushing certain needs under the rug, resulting in feeling even more deflated and frustrated. You may find yourself simply avoiding communication in the hope that something might change without saying anything at all.

Tools of communicating effectively and with confidence:

The tools of effective communication can be extremely valuable to managers and employees alike and enhance performance in work and business dealings as well as the quality of relationships at home with family and friends. Read more about effective communication here

What about poor communication within the workplace?

On the flip side, the deficiency in effective communication or poor communication within the workplace will inevitably lead to unmotivated staff that may begin to question their own worth in the business and their confidence in their abilities. Most of us have experienced complete demotivation in a past role at some stage in our working life.

To get started, organisations can improve and enhance effective communication between their teams by adopting the following big five strategies:

> Define goals and expectations – think measurable outcomes. So, for managers this means providing clear communication (verbal and written) on the expected key performance indicators. These would need to be achievable goals and outline exactly what is required on any given project. The goals would need to consider the resources and supports available to help the individual achieve this goal. Ensure staff members have a clear and concise understanding of the objectives of their role or particular project and how this contributes to the organisation as a whole.

> Clearly deliver your message – Ensure your message is clear and accessible to your intended audience. To do this it is essential that your choice of words is understood by your addressees and is communicated in a polite and respectful manner. You may have a higher level of understanding based on your years in the role, but do not assume or expect this level of understanding to be exhibited by individuals starting off in the role. Getting your message across clearly without causing confusion or offensive.

> Choose your medium carefully – Once you have created your message you need to ensure it is delivered in the best possible format. While face-to-face communication is by far the best way to build trust with employees, it is not always be the best option, especially during COVID-19 or work from home set ups. Take time to decide whether information delivered in a printed copy would work better than an email or if a general memo will suffice. Often the combination of written and verbal communication is most effective. Also keep in mind that staff members may respect receiving an email or text asking if they have a suitable time to discuss project XYZ, then sending an invite to discuss either over the phone, Zoom or in-person; as this collaborative approach builds trust rather than instil fear.

> Keep everyone involved – Ensure that lines of communication are always kept open and transparent. Actively seek and encourage progress reports and project updates. Checking in with staff or being available via phone at a set time each week can be comforting to staff members. Perhaps a team meeting in the morning to start the day and provide a brief with updates and to provide a forum space for staff to ask or verify any questions to prevent the bottle neck at the end of the project. This is particularly important when dealing with staff working remotely.

> Listen and show empathy – This means putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Trying to understand what they may be feeling, their needs, reasons for not actively showing up and predicting their measurable deliveries. Asking yourself – what might this be. If unsure, asking the individual why this might be. Is there relevant support and resources available? What are the barriers? How can you support them in achieving the goal? Communication really is a two-way process and no company or individual will survive long if it does not listen and encourage dialogue with the other party. Listening shows respect and allows you to learn about any outstanding issues you may need to address as an employer.

How Can Positive Wellbeing Psychology Help?

A registered Psychologist with experience in workplace communications can help improve communication within the workplace, resulting in an increase in workplace morale, productivity and overall a sense of achievement.


An experienced psychologist in the field of effective communication and workplace relationships works to assist the individual first by exploring a range of important factors that can both influence their delivery of communication and how the individual may interpret and/or receive the communication at hand. Some of these factors may include both parties’ needs and expectations, beliefs, assumptions, personality, level of support and most suited management style.


At Positive Wellbeing Psychology, we can provide support in effectively delivering communication to staff and/or at a management level. Arranging individual counselling with a registered psychologist under the Employment Assistance Program (EAP) or separately, would mean your business communications are effectively delivered to your staff. It also ensures staff members have a confidential and safe space to explore any difficulty within the workplace, thereby improving the individual’s level of satisfaction, mood and self-esteem, adjunct to reducing business turn over and increasing staff retention.


Read more about our EAP services here, or about communication difficulties within family relationships here.

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Our Australian Registered Psychologists are experienced and trained in evidence-based treatment for workplace stress.