There’s a sense of camaraderie in the workplace when we connect with one another. After all, we’re on the same team so it seems to follow that our communications should grow and strengthen. However, for many it is not the case.
In the last 3 months, I have presented keynotes to thousands of people who like many of you, work for an employer. A common theme when Q&A is taking place is how to grow communications between all levels at an organization as well as all generations. I share what I know works well based on my research, other’s research and input from the participants at conferences and organizations where I present. Here’s what works.
1) The Foundation and Currency of an Organization is its Staff
They are the strength and true currency that keeps any business successful. And, top leadership is the key to making sure communications flow freely between individuals and departments to make it easy to pass information up the ladder via email, text and in meetings. Companies who support open communication grow retention, speed up the sharing of ideas, information and knowledge and create an environment of trust. An employee that can go directly to the individual they want to talk to without having to navigate hurdles, title and prior approval skips unnecessary steps that impede out productivity thus slowing us down. Way down!
2) Train Leaders to Listen
The art and skill of listening is essential as we move forward. Currently, there are more positions open for workers than there are people willing to fill those roles. From HR to management, we must listen to employees concerns or risk losing them to our competition. Which leads to my next step to grow communications at work – empathy.
Understanding and engaging the power of empathy can result in stronger relationships at all levels. Taking time to understand other perspectives and how it feels to be in someone else’s shoes leads to greater trust and stronger communications. We tend to listen better and focus on the whole conversation when we believe we are being heard with empathy and compassion. One of my “superpowers”, I use empathy to gauge an individual’s situation and quickly adapt my mindset if just for a few seconds. This allows for a quick assessment of the circumstances, allowing for stronger connections, which ultimately leads to better communication.
4) Workplace Culture
Workplace culture plays an essential role as you may have guessed. And, top leadership will make or break successful workplace communication, the free flow of information and ideas and the passing on of essential knowledge. Having a clear understanding or directive from the top that your organization encourages this is essential. With it, staff is better equipped to get to work with less barriers and impediments to success. That’s what we want at our jobs and it stands to reason that open communications are a powerful way to achieve this. Combine this with #1 above and you’ve created a company culture that’s foundation for success is strong and agile.
5) Saying Yes and No
Saying yes and no are skills that can be developed and are important in our daily communications. The word “yes” can lead to more opportunities down the road. It can also overload your ability to get things done so be strategic when you use it. Saying no is essential as well and can be a challenge for some as they fear upsetting their manager and others. Communicating that you have no room for more projects can be liberating. Showing what you currently have on your work plate and asking what you should be moved or categorized as not essential can free up your workload. Eliminating fear and replace it with open communications is great because it often works to add clarity to perspectives.
Look, you’re busy & I get it. Pandemic, life, work it all has been a tremendous strain. So, let’s take this one more step. Let’s communicate. Are you struggling with something? Is work too much or your boss is a jerk? Are you wondering if you should stay or look for another opportunity? Want to run something(s) by me?
Communication is essential. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to reach out.