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What is a candid conversation culture?

Regardless of what your organisation does, there is one essential factor to success: communication. 

Clear communication is the cornerstone of any productive workplace, which is why it is so important to encourage your people to speak openly and honestly. Unfortunately, for many reasons, employees find it hard to always speak their minds, resulting in important conversations being put off or outright avoided. 

So how can you boost productivity and ensure that employees at all levels of your organisation feel that their opinions are valued? The answer is simple: create a candid conversation culture. 

First of all, what is a candid conversation?

A candid conversation involves confidently and respectfully voicing your honest opinion. 

While this may sound simple, it is quite difficult to put into practice. Think: in your most recent interactions with colleagues or superiors, were you entirely upfront and honest? Did you voice your true thoughts, even if it was challenging? 

We are rarely completely open with the people in our lives – even those closest to us – which is why it requires a lot of hard work to cultivate a culture of candid conversation. 

Why are candid conversations important?

Employees who work in an organisation that prioritises candid conversations and psychological safety:

  • Can better deal with workplace conflict
  • Are able to engage and collaborate more effectively
  • Feel free to bring up pain points, which can lead to problem solving and innovation
  • Are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to deliver their best work
  • Have greater job satisfaction and are less likely to leave
  • Are more confident and capable of voicing their opinions

When employees feel as though they can have a say, they are more engaged with their work, their colleagues and their workplace. 

How can I start to build a candid conversation culture?

Building a workplace that prioritises open and productive dialogue throughout the organisation isn’t something you can do overnight. It takes a lot of time and energy, but the return you see on your investment is certainly worth it. 

Here are a few ways you can start to establish a candid conversation culture:

  • Lead by example. Not only should the leaders in your organisation be willing to listen, but they should also be speaking up honestly when they see an issue. 
  • Encourage respectful interactions and dialogue. If an employee feels it is unsafe to voice their opinion, it is difficult to get them to engage and open up. 
  • Ask for suggestions. At first, employees may be hesitant. By regularly seeking their feedback and input, you can show them that their opinions matter and gain some new ideas about how to improve the workplace at the same time. 
  • Encourage employee involvement in decision-making processes – especially those that affect them directly. By empowering your employees, they begin to feel valued and are more likely to share their opinion. 
  • Focus on the emotional intelligence of your leaders and other employees. By building these soft skills, you help facilitate their ability to conduct these conversations productively and with confidence. 
  • Embrace differences. You can take full advantage of a diverse workforce by showing that you value the different voices and perspectives in the room. 

Most importantly, you’ll want to focus on building psychological safety in your organisation. This refers to the shared belief that one can speak up, express concerns, take risks and make mistakes in the workplace without being judged or punished. Psychological safety is key to any attempt to create a candid conversation culture, ensuring your employees are equipped to engage in dialogue with colleagues without fear. 
Want to find out more about how you can cultivate a candid conversation culture in your workplace? Check out our Candid Conversations course or reach out to the TrainEQ team – we’ll be happy to help you out.

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