Instigate and encourage a speak-up culture!

In my recent article last week, I highlighted how office politics may affect organisations and personnel performance due to the issue of the so-called office politics. This may include among others suffocating a speak-up culture, paving way for a culture of silence and closed minds.

In this framework, individuals play their cards to form negative social cues to isolate the perceived non-conformists to the ideological version of the godfather or godmother, even when, such an ideology contradicts the organisational values.

Yes, this is common idiosyncrasy in companies or organisations, as not all superiors and peers as well as their acolytes embrace and understand the value of feedback – only a few do encourage open minds but majority prefer closed minds as their magic bullet to their slippery moves.

For such people, trying to convince them that one can raise concerns that can even bail the organisation out of costly mistakes is looked at as being contemptuous.

Little do they also know that, individuals who speak their mind save the organisation of delinquency and are not necessarily adversaries!

The fact is, the sooner these individuals speak up, the sooner the organization can whack potential risks from developing into a major crisis.

Anyways, the pre-eminent question is why is this so common? In my opinion, it is common because some people have turned organisations or companies into jungles, where survival is for the fittest, and any genuine criticism is contempt.

However, the worst-case scenario of having such closed minds in an organisation is that nothing enters their brain even when presented with candid reasons. They are self-willed and never consider the possibility that they can wrong; they are impeccable and spot-on most of the time, if not all the time.

In the end, because nobody challenges and raises his/her voice to the status quo, the performance of the organisation and individual vitality in no time shrinks and dwindles.

Yet, as humans, when we are not open to acquiring new perspectives or taking in diverse opinions, we so often think in a linear manner and can actually be precariously far off the organisational values and self.

Surely, we all have at one point felt like we are misunderstood, humiliated and that people do not certainly get what we expect of them, but this should not be a scapegoat to coldly suffocate divergent views.

Often times, close-minded people deliberately, premediate and intentionally rehearse negative social cues against individuals they consider professionally a threat or can raise their voices to challenge the status quo- should they fail to conform to their slippery ideological script.

It is for this reason that most individuals or employees in a given organisation or company will not speak up. The net outcome of this- being a culture of silence for fear of reprisal and resentment.

As earlier highlighted, if an organisation or company is run like a jungle, and a culture of silence baked within the organisation, largely instigated by negative social cues backed by closed minds, such an organisation will in no time lack in performance and consistence.

It’s likely that most people won’t voice this up in many organisations and companies but the truth is, none of these aspires for an organisation or company that does not truly value their inputs; that does not encourage a “speak-up culture” – or that, where everyone feels uncomfortable and uncounted.

In addition, a company or organisation where it is costly to express individual views and not confident that such ideas will be listened and acknowledged.

The good news however is, that an open-minded team and a speak up culture in an organisation or company, not only benefits sole individuals/employees but also employers and stakeholders.

Rather than form negative social cues against a performing team and the organisation values, positive social cues are formed to allow the weak ones learn from the strong ones.

The employer gets to understand the dynamics of the company or organisation rather rely on closed-minded teams who certainly are self-seeking at the expense of those they consider professionally strong.  

My simple advise to organisations and close minded individuals, is that encourage a speak up culture and candid discussions to allow your company and organisation blossom. 

Assure your teams that there is no retaliation and set the example yourself. 


The views expressed in this article are of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Times.


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