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The Value of Direct, Respectful Communication

Communicating directly in the workplace has more benefits than it does risks.  When done with the right intentions and with respect, direct communication is very beneficial for both the giver and receiver.

Being direct does not have to be an alternative to being polite, as there is a way to be both cordial and straightforward. The tactful use of clear, direct communication is a sign of respect with coworkers in the workplace.   Most people would rather hear the truth, in a forthright manner, than not get the whole picture or have an issue skirted around to avoid getting their feelings hurt.

Without directly and respectfully addressing an issue, the matter at hand can create misunderstandings, and ultimately lead to a loss of productivity. A common example of this is when a manager is afraid or unwilling to address a performance issue with an employee. If avoiding conflict becomes a common or recurring action, the manager hurts both him or herself and the employee in the end.  While it is logical that an employee will not make positive changes if he or she does not know there is a problem, managers often take a short-sighted view and avoid the issue, choosing instead to vent about the employee’s performance challenges to others rather than addressing it directly with the employee. Having a frank, yet respectful conversation will not only let the employee know where he or she is lacking but may often make the manager feel better down the road. Knowing that the employee was told specifically what was wrong and that he or she had been given the opportunity to correct it makes the task of corrective action, even termination, more bearable for the manager.

Having the ability to directly and respectfully communicate is a skill that most people must develop over the length of their careers. Employees that possess this skill are beneficial to an organization, so employers should consider training opportunities for their teams to practice giving direct, respectful feedback. In an environment that fosters open, respectful communication, the team benefits by becoming more cohesive, and ultimately, more productive.

Knowing employees are committed to communicating directly and respectfully helps build the culture of an organization.  Customers, peers, and leaders do not have to wonder what is really going on when the message has been provided clearly and with purpose. In fact, EctoHR feels so strongly about direct communication, it is one of the five core values of the organization!

For help learning how to practice direct and respectful communication in the workplace, call EctoHR, Inc. at 810-534-0170.

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