5 Mental Traps to Avoid for Better Communication at Work

In the realm of workplace communication, certain mental traps can significantly hinder our ability to interact effectively. Understanding and addressing these cognitive distortions is key to enhancing our communication skills. Here are five common distortions and how they impact our professional interactions:

01-The Myth of Deserved Recognition

Often, we labor under the belief that hard work and sacrifice will automatically be noticed and rewarded. This ‘Deserved Recognition’ myth can lead to frustration and resentment when our efforts go unrecognized. It’s crucial to understand that success and recognition are not always directly correlated with effort. In addressing the ‘Deserved Recognition’ myth, huddles can be an effective platform. These brief, informal meetings can be used to acknowledge and appreciate team members’ efforts regularly. By creating a space where small wins and hard work are recognized, huddles can help mitigate feelings of being unnoticed or undervalued.

02-The Knowledge Assumption Fallacy

This fallacy occurs when we assume that others have the same information or understanding that we do. This assumption can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings, as we overlook the need to provide context or explain our perspective.

03-Misattributing Motives

A common error in workplace communication is the misattribution of motives, where we judge others’ actions based on their character but view our actions as influenced by external circumstances. This double standard can lead to unfair assessments and strained relationships. To counteract misattributing motives, huddles offer a platform for clarifying intentions and actions. In these brief interactions, team members can quickly address and clear up any misconceptions about motives, fostering a culture of openness and trust.

04-The Change Expectation Error

This cognitive distortion involves the belief that we can change other people to meet our expectations or needs. This unrealistic expectation can cause significant frustration and conflict in professional interactions, as it overlooks individual autonomy and differences.

05-Overemphasis on Minor Details

Also known as ‘Bikeshedding,’ this distortion is about focusing too much on inconsequential details while ignoring more significant issues. This misplaced focus can lead to wasted time and resources, and it often occurs because minor issues are easier to understand and discuss than more complex ones. Huddles can help teams avoid ‘Bikeshedding’ by keeping the focus on priority issues. In these meetings, teams can quickly identify and agree on what the main priorities are, ensuring that minor details do not overshadow more significant, impactful matters.


By being aware of and actively working to avoid these cognitive distortions, we can significantly improve our communication effectiveness in the workplace. This improvement leads to better collaboration, clearer understanding, and more productive professional relationships.

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