In the age of hyperconnectivity, it’s easier than ever to share information, chat, ask questions, give directions or argue our points by email, team messaging, video conferencing, social media, phone calls and face-to-face conversations. However, more channels, calls and meetings have done little to guarantee an effective communication within organizations because it is not about the quantity of messages sent but instead of its quality which ultimately will ensures not only that message come across but also an effective communication process. Moreover, in many cases hyperconnectivity leads to a polluted communication with an excess of messages which instead of creating better employee engagement or discouraging turnover will end up reducing organization’s productivity because according to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report, “active disengagement costs the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion per year.” Furthermore, paradoxically in search of productivity “at all costs” not only is reduced the quality of the communications but also the relationships within the organization. As a result of transactional relationships looking for unsustainable productivity, the organization starts to operate in “surviving” mode making it all about technology to create value only for the shareholders. In contrast, thriving organizations make it all about people, but how can leaders build a thriving workplace and what outcomes can be expected?
First and foremost, it is important to consider that a thriving workplace begins with C-level executives and are the busy leaders who should lead the charge to improve not only the quality of the communications but also the relationships with other leaders and their teams. What is more, it is well-known from Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) that only 7% of a message relies on the content while 93% will depend on “the way” therefore an empathic style of communication to build rapport is the key to develop effective communications and build long-term relationships. On the other hand, an inspirational leadership approach is constructed upon trust and C-suites should act as role models for midlevel managers not only by coaching them but also developing them as coaches to re-engage employees with effective communication. Last but not least, although feedback is important recognition is even more crucial for an inspirational leader who should not only make feel employees respected but also truly appreciated.
Another aspect to consider besides effective communications and inspirational leadership, is the kind of relationships that are developed within the organizations not only between leaders and their teams but also within and between teams as well as with customers and business partners. Let us remember that organizations operating in “surviving” mode tend to develop transactional relationships which are more likely to be short-term. Therefore, leaders should develop transformational relationships with their teams and although coaching will help them to achieve this goal, it is not enough since in order to lead by example they must be opened to learn not only from other leaders but also from their own employees. Furthermore, leaders must use both feedback and recognition as tools to promote not only the right mindset but also assertive behaviours through which employees show that they are building transformational and long-term relationships not only with teammates but also with other teams as well as customers and business partners.
The Thriving Workplace
In order to develop a thriving workplace, firstly, C-level executives should become role models as inspirational leaders that can communicate effectively with all organizational levels by focusing not only on messages contents but also on “how” they are delivered. Secondly, midlevel managers should empower their teams through coaching and lead by example by developing transformational long-term relationships based on trust. Moreover, leaders should make feel their employees not only respected but also appreciated by providing recognition not only when they achieve their goals but also whenever they build long-term relationships with colleagues, other teams, customers and business partners. However, leaders must remind that the thriving workplace is built on daily basis since unlike the “surviving” one it is not based on machines but people. Hence, leaders will daily engage their teams by creating value for them through inspirational leadership and transformational relationships, which will make their teams more effective to deliver value for customer and more productive to create value for the shareholders. To conclude, thriving organizations are not only more resilient but also more sustainable than organization operating in “surviving” mode which are fragile and prone to collapse by stress.
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