11/08/2013 02:52 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Tips for overcoming workplace misunderstandings

One of the workplace challenges that managers face is effectively communicating with employees. Because of varied backgrounds, experiences and perceptions, employees can interpret messages from managers quite differently, leading to confusion and conflict.

During a recent internal training session at my organization, the Partnership for Public Service, diversity expert Keith Woods from National Public Radio talked about how employees and managers can take off the blinders and have clearer conversations with each other. Woods noted that we often arrive at snap judgments based on misperceptions, creating serious misunderstandings that can lead to low morale and difficulty accomplishing day-to-day tasks and the larger organizational mission.

While it may not be possible to eliminate the instinct to quickly judge, and in some cases misinterpret, the intent and meaning of conversations, there are steps that can be taken to improve these exchanges.

Here, a few tips offered by Woods: