Creating a Healthy Communication Climate in the Workplace Presented by: Katherine E. Oleson Communication Studies Department Bellevue College Communication Climate How can you individually & collectively support encourage participate in/contribute to …a healthy communication climate in the workplace? Today Reflect upon your goals, responsibilities and current workplace communication climate Identify impact of interactions on workplace communication climate Examine supportive and defensive language Consider language use & its impact on workplace communication climate Reflection What are your primary workplace responsibilities? Tasks to complete, regulations to follow Relationships to maintain Let’s consider relationships… relationships are constantly changing relationships are affected by culture relationships require maintenance relationships require commitment Communication Climate how you feel about others in a relationship Using a weather metaphor, how would you describe the communication climate in your workplace? Communication Climate Think to yourself… Would you like the climate you have described to change? In what specific way(s)? What would you like to continue/enhance? Why? Communication Climate “Research confirms that positive communication climates lead to increased job satisfaction.” (Adler, 2010) 1. praise & encouragement - feel valued when work is recognized 2. open communication - opportunities to give & get feedback, make suggestions, voice concerns Communication Climate • People can change the communication climates in their relationships. • Shaped by degree to which we believe we are valued by others in a relationship. • Intentional or unintentional messages. • “It isn’t what we communicate about that shapes a relational climate as much as how we speak and act toward one another.” (Adler, 2010) Communication Climate: Respect & Value Content & relational messages Disconfirming & confirming messages Disconfirming – lack of regard/disrespect Ignoring, interrupting, impersonal response, aggressive attacks Confirming messages – value/respect Recognition, acknowledgement, endorsement Confirming messages convey value recognition (say hello, return messages, eye contact) acknowledgment (listening, asking questions, asking for opinions) endorsement (compliment, agree with another’s ideas or find ideas important, “I can see why you...”, nodding head) Application – Value & Respect What do you do to set up a confirming climate in your workplace? How do you communicate value and respect? Be specific. How satisfied are you with your current approach? What do you find challenging? Why? Communication climate all messages & interactions contribute to the overall climate of a relationship constantly collectively & individually establishing relationships Challenging Situations What happens if we perceive disconfirming messages & feel disrespected? May use defensive language & other behaviors to protect self/face Long-term & short-term impact May use non-defensive responses Preventing Defensiveness In Others show respect lessen level of threat & defensiveness face-honoring relational messages perspective taking Defensive & supportive language – Gibb Categories Defensive Supportive Evaluation Description Control Problem-orientation Strategy (Manipulation) Spontaneity (Assertiveness) Neutrality (Indifference) Empathy Superiority Equality Certainty Provisionalism Adler, 2010 Gibb Categories Defensive Evaluation Supportive Description “You don’t know what “I don’t understand you’re talking about.” why you chose that approach.” Gibb Categories Defensive Supportive Control Problem-orientation “There’s only one way to handle this problem…” “It looks like we have a problem. Let’s work out a solution we can both live with.” “What you need to do is…” “Let’s brainstorm some ideas to address your concern.” Gibb Categories Defensive Supportive Strategy (Manipulation) Spontaneity (Assertiveness) “What are you doing right now?” “We have several boxes that need to be moved into storage. Can you give me a hand?” Gibb Categories Defensive Neutrality (Indifference) Supportive Empathy “Sometimes things just don’t work out. That’s the way it goes.” “I know you were relying on having coverage available on Thursday.” Gibb Categories Defensive Supportive Superiority Equality “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” “I see it a different way.” “No, that’s not the right way to do it!” “If you want, I can share with you a way that has worked for me.” Gibb Categories Defensive Supportive Certainty Provisionalism “That will never work!” “I think you’ll run into problems with that approach.” “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” “I’ve never heard anything like that before. Where did you hear it?” Defensive & supportive language Defensive Supportive Evaluation Description Control Problem-orientation Strategy (Manipulation) Spontaneity (Assertiveness) Neutrality (Indifference) Empathy Superiority Equality Certainty Provisionalism Adler, 2010 Reflection questions Which supportive behavior(s) do you already use on a regular basis? Which do you think you are most likely to implement in your interactions? How could doing so be beneficial? Which factors come into play that impact this type of language use? Scenarios – How might you react? “I don’t understand what you are saying, and, I don’t have time to listen to your explanation.” “Don’t you even understand the difference between these two systems?!” “Katherine sure seems to take a lot of sick-leave.” “I don’t have time for this right now.” “I was able to learn the system without any training, so you’ll just need to do the same.” Scenarios Identify a situation that you have recently experienced. What defensive or supportive language did you use? The other party? What can you learn from that experience & these tools? Be specific. Criticism & Concerns When someone criticizes you, how do you react? Why? What options do you have when responding to criticism/concern brought to your attention? Responding non-defensively to criticism seek more information – – – – – – ask for specifics guess about specifics paraphrase the speaker’s ideas ask what the critic wants ask about the consequences of your behavior ask what else is wrong agree with the critic – – agree with the facts agree with the critic’s perception Role playing Co-worker: “What you’re doing isn’t working. What you need to do is tell Sharon that you need more training.” Response: How might you respond non-defensively? What’s next? How can you individually & collectively support encourage participate in/contribute to …a healthy communication climate in the workplace? Questions &/or comments? Katherine E. Oleson Communication Studies Department [email protected] Reference Adler, Proctor & Towne. Looking Out, Looking In, 13th Edition (Thompson Wadsworth, 2010).