Have you ever been in an environment where the atmosphere feels constrained and conversations are muted and far from genuine?
If you are the team leader you need to consider why it’s happening and how you can promote real open and honest conversations. Without people being free to share ideas and thoughts openly, creativity is stifled and employee engagement falters.
Some thoughts to ask yourself –
1. Open and honest conversations with your team
In your team meetings give people time to contribute and welcome different insights. Acknowledge the contributions and don’t dismiss them out of turn.
Nothing is worse for a participant than saying something and either everyone looking at them with blank or incredulous faces or being dismissed out of turn, indicating what they said wasn’t rated.
It will make the person think twice next time they want to make a contribution and potentially the business may have lost out on a different perspective.
2. Are you listening?
I’ve seen many instances whether in a meeting or in 1-2-1s, people switching off when the other person was talking. From experience it makes you feel as if your views aren’t worthy of being heard.
It’s frustrating for the person trying to share their thoughts and the business could be missing out on valuable information or ideas as the person usually grinds to a halt.
3. Keep your calm
There may be moments when your guard drops and a glimpse of anger shows. Not ideal but if it does make sure you go back and explain calmly so people know why.
Ideally, anger shouldn’t be shown as it can be very destructive. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with an apology, but it shouldn’t become a regular habit to show anger. It certainly creates distrust and stops people from opening up.
The worst behaviour I’ve seen is cutting comments. The person receiving the comments withers and a little bit inside them dies. Those comments will stay with that person for years and will take a lot to shake off.
Years ago I recall being told, I talked rubbish in meetings. It stopped me from sharing my thoughts as a result. One day a manager asked me why I didn’t contribute in meetings so I shared my story. Through their encouragement, I opened up in meetings sharing information I knew about the business, which previously had been missing.
As a leader, your role is to nurture and encourage your people, not put them down. If something needs saying then plan it properly and consider how you will give constructive feedback. And don’t open up the conversation by saying can I give you feedback as it puts the person straight on the back foot and defensive.
Hope this gives you some insight into creating team harmony.
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