Commentary: Hello, is anyone listening?

Successful teams promote two-way communication, respect

Supervisors and employees who demonstrate a genuine regard for human dignity and respect toward one another will encounter less stress and work-related issues necessitating higher-level intervention.

As the chief of Complaints and Inquiries, I am often asked, “What are the most common issues brought to the IG for assistance?”

Undoubtedly, the predominant issues for resolution involve some type of failure in communication and disregard for interpersonal human relations. They are often manifested in an adverse action or work-related matter.

I think most of us are pretty good at expressing our opinions, but how many of us are “good” listeners? Being an “active” listener takes practice, requires one’s full attention and freedom from distraction.

In today’s work environment, multitasking is commonplace and often prevents our full attention to the task at hand. When was the last time you walked into someone’s office and wanted a few minutes of their time and attention? In return, the person continued typing on their computer, being only superficially engaged in the conversation while answering a telephone call simultaneously.

As a viable solution to preventing and resolving workplace distractions, supervisors and employees should be encouraged to identify and address the issues and disconnects. Conversations should be respectfully candid and purposeful in nature to find a mutually acceptable resolution. Successful resolution of differences involves genuine engagement, respect and mutual negotiation.

The key here is a willingness to keep the two-way line of communication open and a cooperative desire to resolve the issues. It is also reasonable that management’s decisions be based upon the best interest of the organization and employee consideration, as much as possible.

So where am I going with this? The message is simple: If you want to lead and be part of an extraordinary and fully engaged performance organization, the team must be focused upon a foundation that promotes effective two-way communication and mutual respect.

That foundation must be solidified with meaningful social and interpersonal relationships, and personnel must feel necessary, relevant and recognized for their contributions.

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