One thing we can do to improve workplace communications immediately is add to every employee’s job description the need to help others express themselves, even those with whom they disagree.

By doing this we would be making that skill a crucial requirement in getting ahead, as important in some settings as technical competence, high intelligence or personal connections.

Every performance review should consider whether the reviewed employee encourages others to express their viewpoints and ideas, and whether he or she is patient when others speak and listens attentively to what they say, however haltingly they may do so.

Subject to regular reviews by managers, most would improve their skills in helping others to speak up.  They would begin to recognize their failings in this regard not only in their interaction at work but at home and other social settings.

Devoting a small portion of each review to the importance of helping associates express themselves will pay dividends in group understanding and creativity.

 

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