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Workplace Language Matters

As a workplace coach, I have the privilege of hearing from employees directly about how they really feel about what's going on in their workplace.

Over the last few years I have consistently heard the following:

1. Frustration with communication and roll outs of new processes and structures. Not hearing enough of the "why" from senior leadership.

2. Employees feel overworked, spread thin, and headcount and hiring are on pause. Mental health continues to suffer.

3. Employees are trying to find a way to stay motivated through it all. It's really tough.

So with that, no matter where you are seated in your organization, focus on what you can control, because so much we cannot. Language you use -- up, down, and across the org is a start. A simple "thank you" or actually caring what a colleague or direct report thinks about something goes a long way. So spend the extra couple of minutes to sincerely ask them what they think about something.

Here are some specific examples that can go a long way:

  1. Instead of giving an update or direction on something and then leaving it at that, ask your colleague or direct report sincerely what they think about what you just said. "What do you think about this?" It's simple - yet shows the person you are speaking to that their thoughts or opinions matter and are important to you. People appreciate being included!

  2. "Thank You" I really need to explain this one? Say this always and often and express gratitude whenever you can.

  3. If you made a mistake, aren't sure about something (like legit don't know or have any answer), then just admit it. This humanizes you and your ability to be vulnerable helps create a culture where people will feel safe to be human, too.

  4. Show your support for others..."How can I help?" or "How can I support you?" opens up the floor for someone to share what they need. There's also a big difference between this open-ended question versus "Let me know if you need any help!"...when in doubt go with the open question.

  5. We all need a little pep talk from time to time. A simple "You got this" or "I believe in you" can be the extra boost someone needed to take that next step, to have a bit more confidence, and to perform their best.

Remember, communication is foundational for a strong team 🗣 💪

Small tweaks to how we communicate can lead to so much more positive impact over time. 💫

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