Frankly speaking – how to improve the discussion culture in your company

How do people argue in your company? The way in which discussions are conducted and conflicts are resolved says an enormous amount about a company – and can also have a significant impact on economic success. We have summarised for you here what constitutes a healthy culture of discussion and how everyone involved can contribute to this.

so verbessern Sie die Diskussionskultur in Ihrem Unternehmen

Why is an open culture of discussion important?

Communication is omnipresent. However, this does not mean that it is always open and constructive. According to a study by the Hernstein Institute, around 15% of working time in Germany is spent on conflicts and managers even have to spend up to 50% of their time on disputes or the resulting consequences. It is clear that this has economic consequences.

Investing time and effort in improving the internal discussion culture instead ensures that problems don’t bubble up in the first place and that people can work together on a solution without judgement. This is not only important so that working time is utilised more productively, but also for better cooperation within the company. Because there will always be differences of opinion. The question is how to deal with them.

Let’s argue – about the potential of conflicts

Harmony is a wonderful thing, but it is often arguments that help us move forward in life. After all, it is only when problems are addressed and conflicts are resolved that a relationship can develop further. This applies both in the private sphere and especially in a professional context. If everyone always agrees, it may be pleasant, but it almost certainly means that a lot of potential falls by the wayside. Perhaps someone in the team has a better idea or recognises an obstacle ahead of time that should be avoided. However, if the person does not feel comfortable expressing their point of view, this is not only a wasted opportunity, but also shows that there is obviously a problem with the internal discussion culture.

das Potential von Konflikten

What inhibits an open culture of discussion

So what are the factors that block healthy communication and need to be eliminated? For many people in employment, it is the fear of losing their job. If too critical feedback can lead to a professional disadvantage, managers are certainly doing something wrong. In any case, it is the task of the management to make it clear to each individual team member that feedback is expressly desired and that a culture of open discussion is the aim.

For everyone involved, this requires one thing above all: the ability to take criticism. The most important skills for interpersonal communication are not immediately feeling offended when you hear unpleasant feedback and at the same time being able to express honest feedback with tact. It is often the actual or presumed inability of colleagues to take criticism that is another major obstacle to open dialogue.

offene Diskussionskultur

The guide to constructive communication

You don’t necessarily have to wait for big announcements or directives to improve communication in your own company. Everyone can start immediately with themselves and take small steps to help create a fear-free atmosphere in which everyone can get involved. Here are some tips for better communication in the company:

    • Know your own emotions: Self-reflection regarding your own emotional world is very important, as we often react unnecessarily emotionally to statements. This is because dialogue partners trigger our fears or insecurities without us being aware of it. With more mindfulness towards ourselves, we can communicate more objectively and successfully.
    • Listening properly: Sounds simple, but it’s not. Far too often we are already thinking about our own arguments instead of focussing on what is being said. Curiosity, not ego, is the driver of active listening. Paraphrasing during a conversation is a good way to practise this: Summarise what you have heard again in your own words and ask questions if necessary to make sure you have understood everything correctly.
    • Nonverbal communication: Not only the spoken word is communication – body posture and facial expressions also often speak volumes, especially those of the listener. Crossed arms and a lowered gaze send a very clear message. Instead, maintaining eye contact, turning towards the person speaking and adopting a relaxed posture make a conversation much more pleasant and constructive.
    • Paying divided attention: Multitasking may be practical in some situations and save time – but a call situation is not one of them. Anyone who writes emails alongside the video call or uses the phone call to sort through documents at the same time is massively limiting the potential of communication. Actively listening and taking part in a discussion requires presence. Otherwise, misunderstandings are inevitable.
  • Tipps für bessere Kommunikation im Unternehmen

    Conclusion: With clear words to success

    Silence is not always golden. At Rejlek, we believe that a healthy culture of discussion in companies is the key to success. This can be achieved with empathy, solution-orientation and the principles of constructive communication – an internal workshop, for example, can be very helpful here. If everyone can speak their mind openly and hold discussions in a respectful manner, this not only leads to better cooperation, but also helps your company to innovate.

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