Do You Make Yourself Heard at Work?
”78% of UK employees do not feel they are involved in decision making and have a ‘voice’ in the workplace.”
This scary statistic is from new research into productivity by Canada Life Insurance; 76% of respondents felt that their productivity was being negatively impacted at work. The two key issues being blamed were ”a negative working environment’’ (29%) and ”workplace culture including poor management and lack of recognition’’ (22%).
The research has some worrying information about culture: ”(81%) do not agree that their line manager or boss motivates, empowers or supports them, only 26% respect their senior leadership team and less than a third (29%) understand the values that form their organisation’s culture.’’
Communication is commonly highlighted as a problem in business today and today’s matrixed, international and remote ways of working can make this an on-going challenge.
Effective communication is essential to create a highly productive workplace. Research previously shared in Harvard Business Review showed ”companies that communicate effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders over a five-year period.’’
So, what’s getting in the way?
The workplace is the classic place for wanting to fit in and be liked, a natural human need. Do we wear a mask to work that means we conform and fit in – not wanting to rock the boat by sharing our real opinions or making suggestions, as we’re scared of appearing negative.
Do workplaces and teams get into a habit of doing things the same way over a long period and then forget to question why or whether things can be improved? The ‘we’ve always done it this way’ culture. Does this give people security?
Many of today’s managers and leaders conform. Thinking that their role means that they need to have all the answers and therefore, either don’t encourage contribution from their teams or feel challenged or threatened by the opinions and feedback of others. Are you conforming to an old fashioned hierarchical system?
We can all choose to include people and encourage contribution – make any feedback welcome.
Here are some of our Courageous Success tips for creating effective communication:
- Most of us are totally unaware of how well we communicate. So start to notice. Are you saying what you really think? Do you hold stuff back? Watch yourself, not self-consciously, just to notice.
- Don’t conform, bring the normal you to work and communicate like you would at home. When we are with people that we know and like, we naturally pitch our communication without too much thought. We know what will upset and rock the boat and choose whether to share it.
- Tune in and use your senses. Not just your insecurity. Instead of saying what will make you look good, share and pick up the feelings and feedback, the atmosphere around you and others, and react to that.
- Be aware that others are different to you and the right approach to take won’t necessarily be your way. Use what you know about others to share how they like to share. If you are not sure, ask them!
- Seek input upfront on what feedback and options people want from you. Clarify what information or ideas people need and give them just that – rather than what you feel like sharing!
- If it’s tricky, sleep on it or create a pause, even for a moment. Especially with email communication.
- Be conscious of your thoughts when interacting with others, silence your judgement and really listen.
- When you need to achieve something, think about how you might ask your best friend – and take that approach.