Companies are uncomfortable with employees who ask too many questions. It's just this simple: If you ask me to jump off a bridge with you as an employee, I'm willing to do it. I just want to know why we’re jumping off the bridge. I need to know is it worth it for me to jump off the bridge. I want to know will I have a parachute. I want to know what's going to happen when I get to the bottom. I am asking questions because I want answers.
This seems like extreme reasoning when comparing an employee asking questions to jumping off a bridge, however employers become nervous of employees who ask too many questions. This puts them in a predicament where they must talk about their processes and policies. There may be many reasons why companies want employees to follow directions with no question. One thought is most of the processes and policies have been in effect so long, no one knows why they exist. In addition, it may be costly to make changes. Either way, this should not be such a negative experience for the employee.
Employees are not robots and should not be treated that way. Employees who ask questions actually want to be invested in the company. It should be a positive experience to have employees ask questions. This does not make the employee a negative person. They just want to know more.
It shouldn't be complicated answer the questions. Don't be afraid of the employee who asked the question. This may be the employee who can help take your company to the next level and point out something that is failing in your infrastructure. Companies should not be intimidated by the employees who ask questions. If you answer the questions correctly the employee may be willing to jump off the bridge for you and with you provided you answer the questions they ask.
Common sense coaching makes the difference between a positive and negative work environment. Particularly in the corporate environment. There should be a balance between coaching and improving the employee morale. There is no value to providing negative feedback to employees and leaving them feeling diminished. The employee can place the negative energy back into the customer experience. The goal at the end of each day of the positive feedback from customers since they provide revenue. If you provide negative feedback only, this is a 50% to 90% cut in revenue to your company. This is huge.
Coaching is as simple as this: provide feedback that improves the customer experience. It is neither positive or negative. It is constructive and based on the perception of the person receiving the feedback. It sounds complicated, but it is simple. The fewer adjectives, the better to explain how the employee can improve. Provide directions and point of reference. As a coach, it is important to provide the reason why based on personal knowledge. This is complicated for supervisors or managers who have never worked in the field, yet have been hired based on networking or education. I feel every supervisor, manager, or VP needs to humble them and understand what the employee does to coach appropriately. Employees take coaching seriously from someone who truly understands what they are coaching.
Management teams have an opportunity to provide feedback that provides direct results to the company revenue. It is important to look at the opportunities to build an employee up and give them direction to excel in their position and even grow with the company. This is just common sense.
Watching one of my favorite TV shows, the narrator made a statement that described communicating fearlessly. The lead actor in the show went to visit his father after not seeing him. He made many visits to him trying to negotiate in his mind how he wanted to resolve his feelings. On his final visit to see his estranged father, he made the decision that he was going to tell him exactly how he felt regardless of how it made him feel. It was now the narrator made the profound statement “The worst thing said, is saying nothing at all”. This dialogue described the feelings that the character would have had he left without opening his heart to lift the burden he was holding in for so many years.
Communicating with others is a strategy. We all want to be heard. We all have stories to tell and emotions to express. We also want to represent how successful we are. There are opportunities where we need to leave nothing behind. It is just important to know when it is appropriate.
Technology has changed the way interviews are done. Most interviews are now done on the phone or another form of technology. In the new interview process, this means you don’t have the opportunity to see expressions or show the future employer your best look. As you are answering the questions, avoid rambling about things that do not showcase your most important attributes. Provide as much information as possible about your experience that relates to the position. When asked is there are any questions or comments, do not be afraid to ask questions about the position. One of my favorite questions to ask “how do you like working for this company?” Don’t forget to express your gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to interview. If there are any details about education or experience you think are relevant, share them. You can’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
We must learn to communicate with no fear. Communicating with no fear is a vital component in our social lives as well as our careers. When you do this, you will be able to network successfully and see doors open that you would have never dreamed would open.
Many companies place stock in employee tenure. Employees can work in a front line position for 12 plus years before being considered for another position. At the same time the recruiting process is designed to search for recruits eager to grow with the company. This becomes counterproductive for all parties involved. This depletes the morale for existing employees and new employees.
Time and tenure should mean absolutely nothing when it comes to growing a company and being open to fresh ideas. Companies should be willing to continuously seek the perspectives of all employees equally. This can be the game changer to being competitive. There are several ways to open opportunities for all employees to be part of the success of the company.
Having town halls or gathering in which management talks about the company can be intimidating for employees. However, establishing programs that seek the perspectives of all employees can be effective. These programs should address where the employee wants to be with the company in the future and how the company can help them get there. This can be done with supervisor one on ones or with a company HR website that builds profiles based on the employee information.
Employees should effectively be aware of all opportunities available with the company. They should be reaching out for network opportunities. Build a network of peers, managers, and mentors within the company. Take every opportunity to let your ideas and perspectives be heard. This can help provide opportunities for growth.
It is time to look outside of the box for company growth. Employers need to change the way they provide opportunities to employees. The opportunities should be equal all employees. This is just another way to build employee morale and create an inclusive environment.
The focus on employee morale is neglected by many companies. Employees are the driving force revenue, yet employers take employees for granted. When companies take the time to change the way employees feel about the company, the customer experience will improve. This has a direct impact on revenue. Employers need to find solutions for employee morale. Employees need to be willing to contribute to the experience.
As an employee it is important to ask yourself “am I doing everything I can to add to the positive morale in my company?”. Employers need to be in the mindset of always providing solutions for improving employee morale. This does not always require money. Supervisors can schedule and complete positive one on one meetings with employees. Regularly scheduled team meetings that provide insight and clarity to the company goals that can put everyone on the same page. It is just the little things that show employees are more than just a number. This and many other things can create a positive employee morale.
If you are the owner of the company, you should be comfortable with knowing how each employee feels about the company. It is an opportunity to create a positive experience that can benefit all parties. There are popular TV shows that allow owners and CEO’s to understand frontline employee concerns. This experience does not need to be on TV. Owners and CEO’s can take the time to learn the job functions of all departments and understand any frustrations employees have. It is about creating positive experience and everyone needs to be part of this experience.
As an employee, if you feel awkward in a work environment regardless of how positive it is it may be time to go. It is just as much an employee responsibility to be part of the positive morale in a company environment as it is the employer. Try being part of the things that are positive about the company. If the company is still not a good fit, find the right environment that works for you.
The average working American spends between 25 – 40 hours per week in the work environment. It is important that work life balance is a priority. Part of the work life balance is creating as many positive moments in life as possible. This is healthy for the mind, body, spirit and soul. Do everything you can to be part of creating a positive work experience. Only good things can happen from being persistent in this conquest. Focus on creating the true positive environment. The benefits are endless.
Noble is the concept of being a peaceful and content person. It is difficult in these days of social unrest and financial uncertainties. We lose sight of what is important trying to understand what is going on, so we soak into social media trying show everyone that our life is perfect. We just have to stay focused on what is real and important. This is how to begin peace preservation.
In work scenarios, it does become difficult to maintain peace. It is possible if you understand why you must work. We work to maintain a lifestyle and provide support. This should give you a sense of peace knowing you can be of value to yourself and family. To remind you of what is more important, put a picture of something that will motivate you. I keep a picture of my sons near me. It’s a reminder to me there is life after work. It’s a life I love and protect passionately.
My husband and I are together most of the time. I don’t mean when it’s possible. I mean before work, after work, weekends, and every waking moment we can be together. We have become each other’s comfort and support. Why is this relevant? As a team we have established code words, looks and gestures, to leave events that become overwhelming and chaotic. We also make an exit plan before we even arrive to an event. We never question why. We have just established a mindset that our personal space and need for peace is more important than the possibility of hurt feelings.
I challenge everyone find their perfect peace. Live, laugh, and be happy in the moment. Never allow anyone to dictate what your peace and happiness should be. It is more important for your success, sanity and health to have peace within that you can understand.
In the corporate world it is important to maintain a positive attitude to maintain an inclusive environment. At least that is what all of the orientation documents allude to. Corporations don’t want internal bandwagon behaviors to cause problems for the morale of the company. Just smile and never say anything perceived to be negative and everyone is happy.
This does not add to the morale of the employees. While it is demoralizing to have someone complaining all of the time, it is equally demoralizing pretending to be positive when there are a lot of negative things going on. Sometimes it is ok for a company to address the negative things that are happening to the company in a real manner instead of only talking about the positives and providing a false sense of security.
In the global financial crises of 2007-2008, many banks where uncertain of their future. It was all over the news and consumers saw the devastation, but banking corporations still assured their employees that everything was ok. Eventually, employees received pink slips and packages (most without notice). The employees were forced into reskilling or taking lower paying jobs. This would have been less frustrating for employees if the companies were honest about a very negative thing that was happening and provided opportunities to find other jobs and understand the impact of this very negative thing that was happening.
Certainly it seems like making false statements of positivity like “It’s getting better” or “you have nothing to worry about” are the best approach to maintain a positive environment. However, companies can miss opportunities to find solutions if they do not use their resources effectively. Employees are the best resource to company solutions. It is best to allow employees to help provide solutions.
As an employee, maintaining a positive environment is more that making positive affirmations all day. Find ways to provide solutions. Become part of the process of building a true positive environment. Become part of the process of building a true positive environment. This may even include working in a different department you are better suited for. Talk to your leadership team and find your true positive environment.
Recently I watched a YouTube video in which a customer became frustrated because she could not find what she wanted. She asked the store agent for assistance, but she was unable to clearly articulate what she was looking for. The store agent tried his best to find the item in the system based on the description the customer gave. The delay caused by his search frustrated the customer even more. The company took the high road and apologized for the interaction. However, the issue really was the customer’s inability to articulate what she wanted.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. In the telecommunications industry we are charged with the responsibility to take the information the customer provides and understand it enough to provide solutions. This is not always easy with interdepartmental communication gaps. Since communication is a 2-way process, it is time to figure out how we can alleviate our own frustration by communicating better.
As a customer, do your research before going to a store or calling a company. Especially if you are a customer who becomes easily frustrated. As a representative of a company, be patient. In addition, it does not hurt to make yourself the expert on customer terms and company knowledge.
The end goal of any communication is to send and receive the intended message. Knowledge is the linking factor in any scenario. We must do the extra work to become knowledgeable in every scenario in our lives. Knowledge is power!
We have all heard the term “I am just keeping it real”. The term is used to allow a verbal filter to be removed. By removing the filter, the speaker can provide genuine criticism or provide details that can be thought provoking. The problem is not everyone truly understands there is a difference between being real and being rude.
Being real should be a communication in which the speaker is giving genuine authentic information that is true to them and does not cause intentional harm to someone else. The reason I say “intentional” is because revealing a detail that is an insecurity to someone can be hurtful. That is why it is also important to know your audience. Try to understand if someone has insecurities and are easily hurt.
The typical example is when you see someone struggling with weight, and they ask you to tell them how they look. Think for a moment what is the appropriate response. Remember the statement cannot intentionally cause harm, but they do need your honest opinion. A correct statement would be to redirect the person to answer the question themselves. Ask them the question “What do you think?” This way they can see the unspoken statement and answer the question on their own.
In a professional setting being real can border being rude regardless of the intention. There is a way to maintain professionalism and be genuine. Divulging important and personal details about your life is not necessary at work or in a professional environment. Making any comments that describe the way a person looks or behaves is also not necessary. In fact, if you know you are someone who may have the term “keeping it real” confused, you may want to add an additional filter when communicating professionally.
I personally have a tendency to ramble on and on until I have cornered myself in a situation where I have to provide more details than necessary. When I am not speaking, people who know me think something is wrong. This is one characteristic I work on in every social engagement. I want people to know the genuine me and not the unnecessary details.
Remember being successful is more about listening and learning than speaking to be heard. In fact, studies show that listening is the most important part of communication. When you listen more than speaking you can truly understand the difference between “keeping it real” or just being rude.
Today the 45th President of the United States was inaugurated. After an exhausting election season we now face a choice. In order to be a successful country, we have to work together. We can no longer be a divided country. This very action nearly eliminates decades of struggle and peaceful protests. We have to understand our rights and work together to unite the country. We must communicate strength and unity to the world.
Although the new President and his cabinet are not everyone’s choice, the constitution and freedom are our choice. We can continue to reach out to our local representatives and use our collective voice to renew the promises of the constitution and the freedom it allows us. We can also volunteer in our communities and advocate positive change. We should continue to fight for equality for all Americans.
We are fortunate to have a political system that allows us to express our feelings of indifference. Let us use that voice to show the world that even in the face of adversity, we live for democracy, freedom and love. Regardless of who the president is, the Inauguration is still an honored tradition that we have the right to partake in. It is what we do after the inauguration that will be the representation for this great country. We can renew great strengths by showing unity. We can make America great again as a country. Let’s get to work.
Juanita Espino B.S. Comm., M.A.Ed.
Communications Consultant and Professional Advisor