To put it simply, 2020 has been a tough year. As we look towards the new year, 2021 promises to solve every problem that 2020 has thrown our way, and we are all eager for it to begin. So, as we eagerly prepare for the new year, New Year’s resolutions are being considered and decided on. While commitments to fitness and healthy eating are a given, this year should also include the resolution to speak up more at work – whether it be to share ideas or not to shy away from difficult conversations, when necessary. 

We recently had the chance to catch up with Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, to get her take on how individuals at all levels can improve openness and honesty in the workplace. Just as New Year’s resolutions take thought and planning, creating an environment that encourages employee engagement and trust takes preparation and a determination to see it through.

In researching her new book, “Courageous Cultures,” Hurt found that the most common question being asked at the senior level was, “Why don’t people speak up?” Unfortunately, as Hurt learned, this question was being asked a lot. From the employees’ perspective, many weren’t being asked to share their ideas, and half didn’t think that anything would happen or change even if they did share what was on their minds. 

Thankfully, this isn’t the end of the openness journey! And this is exactly where managers and supervisors can, and should, step in and make a change. 

Creating a collaborative culture, which encourages openness and sharing, starts by setting appropriate expectations at the onboarding level, Hurt says – both by employees and managers. Unfortunately, the biggest roadblock to communication and project success is a lack of clarity around what a manager expects. By setting and communicating these expectations clearly, and sticking with them, managers encourage open communication with their teams. Not only does this create a continuous flow of ideas within teams and beyond, but it leads to positive customer experiences as employees at the frontline are more inclined to advocate for the company. 

Imagine the innovation and growth if every employee came to work with the mindset of “How can we make things better, and what do I have to contribute?” This is what Hurt envisions for companies and what she is committed to helping teams and managers accomplish. 

At the end of the day, success is a team effort. By providing individuals with the means and confidence to speak up, managers and supervisors ensure that the team works together as, well, a team.

If an open and honest workplace resonates with you, we encourage you to join the conversation in the effort to build an environment in which every individual feels heard and celebrated for their ideas and opinions. Tune in to the latest episode of An Open Conversation to learn more from Karin Hurt and how she and her team believe this openness can be accomplished – and don’t forget to let us know what you think on social media!