Guest Blog: Maintaining Honest Communication at Work: How and Why

Offices that combine work and play have become a massive trend over the last decade, Google-style adult play-pens and meditation rooms being adopted by smaller online-based businesses world-wide. But many employers lose sight of their employees’ needs, focusing on implementing trends rather than simply discussing it with the people working under them.

Let’s take a look at what honest care for employees could look like.

Any company involves people interacting within an hierarchic structure. Honest dialogue is the oil that keeps these structures lubricated and productivity high. In large companies, many people lower down the management chain feel invisible, their needs overlooked, while in smaller businesses, employees can be faced with micro-managers; their creativity stunted. The results are the same: poor performance and lack of interest.

This conflict of interest seems unnecessary, as the benefits of working together towards increasing a company’s turnover should be seen by everyone. As someone involved in a small business (managing a deli in Noordhoek) where I work directly under the owners, I’ll speak mainly from my own experience.

Being involved in decisions that will affect my work environment and experience is very important to me – being included in meetings regarding new strategies or hiring new staff makes me feel like my opinions and ideas are being considered and valued. On the same note, being acknowledged when my concepts have been successful is huge. The way people speak to each other can really change the mood of any work environment, especially when there’s a lot of pressure. From affirmation to eye contact, supporting those around you and aiding them in their growth could affect your business in profound ways.

Being able to exercise my unique talents makes my work instantly more inspired. In less busy moments at work, I spend time either reading up on our products or the systems we use, or trying to find creative solutions to some of the challenged faced by our little deli. Having some of these ideas realised, and having my employers alongside me, as aware of my movements as I am of theirs, is what motivates me into putting in more effort and time into what I do.

However, as an employee, you should learn to accept criticism, to distance yourself somewhat from what you do. Don’t take things to heart, understanding that the pressure of running and maintaining a business is high. In the same breath it is also your duty to make yourself heard and to bring important issues to the table.

"Honest, respectful communication is often difficult, but should be important enough to fit into a schedule, no matter how hectic things seem..."

Work environments are often the setting in which deeper social issues such as racism, misogyny and elitism play themselves out, often in subtle and underhanded ways, and it’s important that such issues are brought to light and discussed. Stand up for those around you as you would stand up for yourself.

Honest, respectful communication is often difficult, but should be important enough to fit into a schedule, no matter how hectic things seem, as it will only help to see whose needs can be accommodated and whose needs are unrealistic or misguided. Being aware of the social and political setting in which you business operates, as well as understanding that you’re working with people, by nature diverse and complex, will help you develop more meaningful relationships and create dialogue that is honest, open and caring.

This blog was written by guest blogger, Raphael Blue - you can find more of his writing here.

Also see Turning Your Passion Into Your Profession in 2018 by Raphael Blue.

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