The working life and its ever-changing environment, just like with any biological family, the nature of the collective is often rooted in supreme dysfunctionality. How come? Well, it’s just what families do, really. Given that we spend most of our earthly hours working away, our colleagues (albeit subconsciously, involuntarily) become an integral part of our 24-hour cycle. A pseudo family member. As with any interpersonal relationship, communication is vital to overcoming the insurmountable. All relationships are alike; cooperation is what makes it or breaks it. How receptive are we? Are there open communication channels? Who’s willing to listen? Is our emotional intelligence serving us? These are some of the most fundamental questions. This much we know to be true: our capacity for listening is paramount in creating a positive work environment.
This is where we’re faulty as human beings. Most of us (and that’s 95%, to be exact) believe we’re actually good listeners. “I hear you.” The idea of portraying a worthy interlocutor is very much alive. However, the reality is much darker than anticipated. We are, in all truth, overestimating our capacities for interconnectedness. But let’s pause and reflect. Retrieve a memory. When was the last time someone at work paid attention to the words departing your mouth? By that, we mean full-on engaging, I’m here, I’m your sponge, lay it on me – kind of discourse. And, unfortunately, it’s pretty much all one can hope for these days. Somber eyes. And we get it. The world is too much at times. So we are chronically overwhelmed, overstimulated, and oversaturated. Over-everything. And blocked mindsets rule the office space, for we are tired.
The lightspeed-pace of the modern work environment asks and pleads for velvet ears and marshmallow tongues. For a healthy professional environment, effective communication is more critical than ever. Cheek-to-cheek dialogues that defy the alienation, the world-spread detachment that snuck up on us cunningly needs an antidote. And fast. Have we forgotten how to speak? And more importantly, have we forgotten how to listen? No. Have we forgotten how to HEAR?
The curious disappearance of dialogue
There’s a lot of pseudo-nodding happening across the globe. Every micro cell, each work environment entity – and there are millions – holds an erratic collective dynamic, often to employees’ detriment. Why does it happen? – Poor listening skills. That’s the prologue. The avalanche trigger. The truth is, something so seemingly irrelevant (because who has the time?) as effective listening can make or break the entire collective. Furthermore, the very lack of effective, authentic, reciprocated dialogue can lead to myriad obstacles that, in turn, hinder the entire organism (i.e., the company) from moving forward. “What we’ve got here… is failure to communicate.” And so, the absence of constructive communication will invite social misfortunes, such as hurt feelings, misunderstandings, antagonism, passive aggression, resentment, and professional relationships prone to deterioration. Havoc? You bet.
Additionally, poor communication heralds an ongoing (and acute) condition in our working society: exacerbated mental health issues. And, is it any wonder? Without effective listening and compassion, the backbone of any professional growth is indefinitely enjoying M.I.A. status: support. Without it, we are less likely to evolve professionally and personally. Burnout is the modern-day plague. The less we feel “at home” at work, the greater the chances of productivity loss in the workplace – no matter the hierarchy. And it’s a lose-lose situation. Team members and managers alike can benefit from growing and practicing the already innate skill – listening. Becoming a good listener (or perfecting the craft) plays a crucial role in creating a positive work environment.
Experts from Professional Movers Canada shared: “Ever since the “remote era” introduction, the vast majority of our clients have been younger professionals in pursuit of better job offers.” – Now, that’s a conversation starter. Young professionals are quick to change their work environment (if need be). Why? Finances? So it’s never about the money, really. It’s about obtaining a sense of belonging. And feeling heard. The statistics show that around 90% of employees feel their managers and employers are not hearing them. In conclusion, there is no tangible sense of “equality”. The troubling stats clearly highlight an ongoing (and burning) issue that affects both parties.
Recent studies show that an individual working under contract is almost five times more likely to feel encouraged and motivated to perform to the maximum of their capacity if they feel heard and their opinions validated. Employers whose business apparatus is open to expressing genuine interest in their employees’ feelings, suggestions, and aspirations find it easier to access innovative trajectories that can only benefit their business (solutions, technologies, etc.). Additionally, through practicing active listening, employers can address their top talent’s concerns before they drop the big Q. “I quit.”
High-quality communication gifts company teams with positive momentum. When we give our communication channels the green light, fewer hindrances, and obstacles exist. The air is lighter; we can finally breathe. Together. Active listening can increase productivity at all levels within an organization. How does it work? Simple. “Question.” “Answer.” Therefore, effective listening elevates awareness of each team member’s needs. If we allow free information flow, we can gain precious insight into individual strengths and weaknesses, making the whole teamwork process airtight. In other words, the company’s overall performance depends on the team’s ability to co-create, fill in the blanks, and work in unison. Poor listening skills are a roadblock to one’s professional (and personal) success. So a positive work environment is one in which all members feel engaged, heard, and included. The goal is to be on the same page, and active listening is the mother of tools.
Empathetic listening is vital to creating a positive work environment. By practicing it, we are able to expand our cognitive and emotional bandwidth – and it will organically and seamlessly lead to forming cohesive, strengthened bonds with other team members. Therefore, by listening (mindfulness), we can expect faster work rates, an increase in our productivity levels, and, let’s not forget the big bonus: lowered cortisol levels. If you want to learn more about maximizing your career potential, visit Findmino.com, the free go-to source for career exploration of the web.