Have there been moments in your career when you wanted to speak your truth at work, wanted to speak up about something troubling to you, and yet you grudgingly remained silent?
Today’s business world recognizes the desire for transparency in both words and actions in the workplace, the value of inclusivity and diversity, and the creation of a safe work environment where we can thrive in our passion for the work we do.
Candidly speaking, employment in an organization almost always comes with certain spoken and unspoken rules of engagement. These below-the-surface understandings of how far you can go in bringing up certain topics can make it hard for an employee to do their best work when there are nagging issues that aren’t disclosed for open discussion, and worse yet, larger and sometimes ongoing topics that you dare not brooch with others at your place of employment.
If left to fester, an employee can experience many negative emotions, even to the point of becoming angry and resentful. As written by Bernard Goldwin, Ph. D in the Psychology Today article Suppressed Anger Just Doesn’t Go Away:
behavior that might include not voicing opinions that could be helpful and not relaying communications that are essential for the flow of business.
In one study, a group of managers and non-managers (187) were asked to maintain a diary of anger arousing events over a four-week period (Booth, Ireland et. al. 2017). Additionally, they were evaluated for trait anger and job satisfaction. More than half reported such events, with trait anger being higher in those identifying such events.
Additionally, another study found that those who were high in suppressing anger tended to express their anger to uninvolved persons or remained silent (Stickney & Geddes, 2014).
As a clinician, I’ve worked with individuals overwhelmed by the tension of suppressed anger in the workplace. Some stay with their job but ruminate about their grievances, while others have left their jobs without voicing them.”
There is a fear -no matter if you are an influencer, a longtime employee, a standout or ‘star’ producer, or even a person who might be thought of as one who more often than not speaks their mind -of stepping over the line with an issue that could prove controversial. That line might become the one that separates you from your boss’s approval, your peer’s faith and trust in you, or where you might even question if your values match those of your employer. An employee might exaggerate the thoughts of being shamed, ostracized, losing their job, or ultimately of quitting, because the pain of staying quiet overrides the joy their job provides.
As an employee, you will take the issue(s) home with you and dread the
Tuning in to PwC’s podcast (PriceWaterhouseCooper is the second-largest professional services network in the world) titled Forecast 2021: Return on investment in your employee experience, we learn about The Happy Employee (11:58 mark).
Panelists discuss that employees want to be the best they can be, bringing passion to work every day, and how we’d all like to feel inspired.
There is a way to confront and even curtail these fears of speaking up about sensitive issues by use of facilitative conversations and third-party mediation. The following ideas, highlighting both the employer and the employee viewpoints, are but a few of the many reasons to consider these two options.
A Neutral, Third-Party Mediator or Facilitator brought into the workplace shows Employers:
1. a way to be initiative-taking in heading off workplace problems involving employee’s or staff’s issues
2. a constructive way to curtail employee turnover
3. a thoughtful approach to curtailing social media backlash from disgruntled employees (indeed, Glassdoor reviews for potential new employees)
4. (When offered as an optional service) a way to customize employee/employer communications within their company or industry
Mediators and Facilitators can provide their services onsite, remotely or in combination of the two; they can work on a specific conflict issue; and they can be contracted for on-call services over a specified amount of time for all areas of a company’s communication concerns.
A Neutral Third-Party Mediator or Facilitator brought into the workplace shows
· their employer cares about their fear of speaking up, to the point that they have engaged someone not affiliated with the company (truly neutral, an expert in confrontational issues and communications, who is not working solely in the interests of the either the employer or employee)
· that this impartial outsider is someone who must maintain a code of confidentiality (freedom to speak openly with no fear of retaliation)
· their employer is a champion for them and their work environment
Wondering How to Get Approval or Buy in to Enlist a Mediator?
The Great News is YOU Don’t have to DO ANYTHING!! Except**
As a free offering to potential clients, experienced Mediators will offer a consultation with Decision Makers to answer questions, help devise a course of action, and attain the approval required to move forward.
**Reach out to a Mediator to ask questions and see if they are a good match for your situation! If you feel others would benefit from this information, please share.
About the Author