Open Communication in Workplace
First, ask yourself…
Would you like your employees to feel more encouraged to share their ideas and opinions?
We are all familiar with the concept of “walking the talk” which means to follow through on what we say because in reality, our actions speak louder than words. As leaders, it is vital to walk the talk when it comes to promoting the idea of “open” communication, because when our actions do not mirror our words, dramatic negative fallout can occur. When employees feel that they cannot approach their manager with a question, concern, or simply to challenge something they don’t agree with, the following are likely to happen: more long-term conflicts will take place, innovation will be stifled, reactive attitudes will form instead of proactive ones, and there will be a lack of trust within relationships.
If an environment of honest, open communication is something we desire to have, we can’t simply just talk about it; employees must see it taking place, and it starts with us, as leaders, actively promoting it. Actions such as proactively soliciting feedback (even if we know it might not be all wonderful compliments), encouraging others to play devil’s advocate (especially to our opinions), and commending others for proposing ideas that might be different from ours will show that we actually mean what we say about open, honest dialogue.
Taking these proactive steps makes it clear to the others on the team that their opinions matter and that we value what they bring to the table – likely resulting in an increased level of employee engagement and sense of ownership.