Safe to speak up. Power to be heard.

Posted by Lori Michele Leavitt in PERFORMANCE - workforce conversations | No Comments »

Are you including effective communication as an area for growth in performance?

An important aspect of coaching for better performance is aimed at communication. This includes improving the dynamics and effectiveness in meetings as well as helping individuals be more clear and concise in their delivery of ideas and feedback.

A recent article by weforum.org speaks to the unheard voices of women in the workplace.

“Women get interrupted 2.8 times more often than men, by both women and men, and when they do contribute to a team discussion, men may take credit for their ideas – a phenomenon that usually goes unnoticed by their male colleagues. Furthermore, when women voice their views, they are punished with a 14% drop in how competent they are perceived to be. The impact is that women often hold back from speaking up.”

As a leader, you can improve the environment, your culture, in which your employees work. The weforum article offers several suggestions including upping the professionalism of every meeting with a few toastmasters-like gadgets such as a buzzer for interruptions and off track discussion and gathering input from each person via writing and then bringing each note into the discussion.

Let’s also address the perceived drop in credibility when a person (a woman, in the article’s example) speaks up. Is the loss in credibility due merely to the fact that they spoke up or is it due to how they are speaking? What I often find, in both genders, is inadvertently explaining one’s point before the actual point is made. For most, it is a simple pivot — a small shift in what they are doing now — to learn to state a point succinctly up front and then elaborate for clarity.

Who is accountable for this area of performance management? Managers may also be coaches, or facilitate the matching of an appropriate person to coach the employees they are helping to grow. Many managers are more suited as skill-based mentors than they are as coaches. And that’s ok. Consider coaching for effective communication in your performance management roles & process. Provide the coaching resources necessary.

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