5 Killers of Effective Communication
We all know that open, honest, transparent communication is not only a necessity to thrive but can actually transform any workplace. Yet so many workplaces are still unable to cultivate an environment where people feel safe to share all they are thinking and speak their truth. It’s such a great loss for everyone.
So as a company how do you get people to weigh-in and share what they’re thinking and feeling and get their gold out of them, consistently.
We all need to accept that being honest is hard, it makes us all feel awkward and vulnerable. It’s also scary because we just don’t know how the other person is going to react. There’s never a way to be completely honest and comfortable - ever. Awkward is the new normal if you are going to be fully honest, I think if you can accept that then you can start to be truthful.
The 5 biggest killers of healthy workplace communication are...
Being Silently Stifled
Pretty straight forward really, this is the inability to speak your truth. For whatever reason you just cannot share your thoughts, you freeze. Some people hide in statements like “what’s the point, I won’t be heard anyway so there’s no point.”
Maybe it’s the fear of vulnerability, getting it wrong, being judged, lack of trust in your ideas. Whatever the reason, you’re the person who leaves every meeting unsatisfied. You’re not seen or heard but have so much to offer.
It’s career suicide, we all have to show up, weigh-in, and speak what we know and believe.
Being Over Cautious
So this is where you might be able to express what you are thinking and feeling but you don’t do it well, you dance around the truth, stretch it out and waffle.
This is mostly likely for two reasons, one because you’re scared to hurt someone’s feelings or two, you’re scared to get it wrong. You probably suffer from self doubt, so you over-talk as a way to water yourself down.
Not only is this torture for you, but for others too, it’s exhausting. You’ve got to just get to the point where you get it out, in spite of yourself.
This is really just a lack of empathy, understanding and acceptance. We all have different values, beliefs and stories or pasts and we are the sum of those. When you judge someone you are projecting your issues and beliefs onto that person.
There is a big difference between speaking the truth and being judgemental. You can be honest and people will hear you as long as you don’t judge them. You don’t need to agree with everyone but if we want to get along then it’s important that you get why people do what they do and learn to accept them as they are.
Being honest without judgement is the most effective and powerful tool we have to speak our truth.
We all need to feel safe and secure to be authentic. You need to trust who you are talking with. As a company the best way to do this is with transparency, which is tough because it means everyone is going to get more feedback but it’s front and centre, not behind closed doors.
We need to feel valued and safe enough to fail, our best work is not always our safest work.
Fear of criticism
At work we need to grow and learn and in order to do that we need constant feedback. We also work with people, we impact those around us, we need to know how we make them feel and how we can influence them for the better and they us.
We are all human, we have needs. We’ve got to become open and receptive to receiving tough but helpful feedback that expands us.
You will never grow if don’t get and welcome this and make it a priority.
Most of us haven’t been given permission to speak our mind, let alone rewarded for it. Nor have we been taught how to manage the vulnerability that comes with being open and honest.
So we’ve got some work to do, as individuals and companies we’ve got to create safe spaces, so we can give people robust, thought-out feedback and all keep growing together.
Be brave, go first and starting sharing your truth.