As a new year begins, I have taken the opportunity to reflect on the year we have just had. I am naming it “The Year of the Courageous Conversation”.
Over the past 12 months, many of our clients acknowledged the power of an honest and brave conversation, and engaged myself and WorkPlacePLUS to run a proactive training program on empowering not only managers, but all employees in an organisation to speak their truth in the workplace and further develop their communication strategies. The response from participants was remarkable, with teams feeling motivated and supported to acknowledge areas for improvement and development and recognising that communicating honestly could lead to more trusting and productive work relationships.
Other clients, through resolving workplace disputes and grievances, recognised the need for more courageous conversations and implemented some individual coaching for people managers. Others, through the development of new performance management systems, also shared “The Year of the Courageous Conversation” by embedding ongoing, honest and meaningful discussion between managers, colleagues and teams in everyday operations, not just in a performance appraisal. This fresh new look at performance management empowers you to address issues as they occur, supporting and encouraging teams to excel each day, rather than burying your head in the sand until your calendar reminds you to book in that notorious performance appraisal!
What is a courageous conversation?
Courageous conversations are those which you initiate to discuss the issues that you would rather avoid – the ‘undiscussable’. They will often take the most courage and require you to speak candidly and listen openly, and are often the ones which make the biggest impact. They have the capacity to create a pathway to building the relationships, influence and outcomes you want in every area of your life.
As a workplace investigator, I have witnessed many grievances and issues between employees that could have been avoided if the parties were honest about the behaviour or issues that were occurring, as they were due to miscommunication.
A courageous conversation will often result in individuals becoming more confident to communicate openly, and gaining insights into workplace relationships and their own behaviour.
Don’t wait for an issue to escalate, I encourage you to invite employees within your organisation to participate in open and honest discussions, and be prepared to not only share, but to listen. These conversations may initially be hard, but practice makes progress and this will support you to developing and maintaining a high performing and committed workforce.
If you need expert support, WorkPlacePLUS can help. Our team specialises in independent workplace investigations, mediation and conflict resolution, change management, performance management, risk and compliance, and professional training and development programs.
For more information please contact us today.
WorkPlacePLUS is the “Preferred Human Resource and Employee Relations Provider” for Speech Pathology Australia and all of its members.