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5 minute read

How to Build Teams That Dare to Speak Up

Creating a courageous culture in your workplace is an investment in your organisation’s long-term success. By fostering an environment where employees feel appreciated, supported, and empowered to share their ideas and observations, you unleash the potential for innovative solutions, enhanced problem-solving, and a stronger, more resilient organisation.

To empower employees to speak up and actively contribute, creating an environment where they feel secure and supported is vital. This is achieved by cultivating a courageous culture in your workplace. In the book Courageous Cultures by Karin Hurt and David Dye, the authors explore the strategies and techniques to establish such a culture, fostering open communication and collaboration among team members.

A courageous culture is critical to thrive in an automated world

Creating a courageous culture is crucial for growth in today’s increasingly automated world. As automation revolutionises our work, robots and computers assume numerous routine tasks humans once performed. Yet, despite their capabilities, machines cannot inspire employees to voice their ideas, provide empathetic coaching, or foster connections within a team. These vital aspects of organisational development still rely on the human touch.

When employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and know their contributions are valued, they are more likely to stay committed to the organisation.

By developing a courageous culture, you can do the following:

  1. Attract and retain employees who positively impact your company.
  2. Foster micro-innovators who consistently seek small, effective ways to improve processes and outcomes.
  3. Problem solvers will emerge, treating the organisation as their own and proactively identifying solutions.
  4. Customer advocates will tirelessly work to meet client needs and enhance customer satisfaction.

Looking to grow your team? Tap on our 500,000-strong talent pool of Singaporeans by posting your jobs on MyCareersFuture today.

There is a need to balance curiosity and clarity

Curiosity involves constantly exploring ways to innovate and improve, while clarity refers to management being transparent about goals, processes, and roles. When a company achieves clarity, employees feel secure and confident about the organisation’s direction.

However, too much of a good thing can be detrimental. For example, excessive curiosity can lead to chaos and confusion as everyone pursues their own interests. Conversely, too much clarity can make employees feel stifled and rigid, discouraging them from voicing their opinions.

Finding the ideal balance between clarity and curiosity is crucial. By doing so, employees will appreciate and adhere to the company’s framework while feeling comfortable innovating within its boundaries.

Embrace a culture of appreciation

Many individuals find it challenging to speak up. So, when an employee musters the courage to identify an inefficient process or flawed protocol, acknowledge the bravery and effort it took for them to come forward. Start by expressing gratitude, then clarify how you will address the information they provided. Be transparent about timeframes, and if their idea isn’t feasible, explain the reasons.

Foster courage by hiring the right talent

Start by hiring competent individuals with a demonstrated history of courageous behaviour. During interviews, ask questions that help gauge a candidate’s courage. Doing so will attract top talent and foster a culture of innovation and growth.

These questions may include:

  • “How did you overcome a work-related problem?”
  • “How did you handle disagreements with your manager?”
  • “What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?”
  • “How do you encourage employees who approach you with ideas?”

Create an inclusive workplace by recognising and valuing everyone’s contributions

Diversity in the workplace can make building a cohesive culture challenging but not impossible. Diverse personalities and styles mean some colleagues may need help understanding the best way to work with and support one another. This is the same for the management level.

For instance, if a manager values autonomy, they might give their team significant freedom, which could be perceived as disinterest by employees who prefer a more nurturing approach. Conversely, an involved leader may unintentionally stifle employees, preventing the emergence of innovative ideas.

Effective managers understand when to provide space for employees to work independently and when to offer additional guidance.

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Cultivate a courageous culture to unlock innovation, drive growth, and propel your organisation to success

It’s essential to recognise that fostering a courageous culture in your workplace can significantly impact your organisation’s success. By attracting and retaining employees who feel appreciated and supported, you create an environment where innovative ideas and observations can emerge, adding value to your company.

First and foremost, establish a foundation of trust and respect among team members. This means being open to different perspectives, offering constructive feedback, and actively listening to employee concerns. When employees feel secure in expressing their thoughts, they are more likely to share valuable insights and innovative ideas.

Providing ample opportunities for collaboration and communication is crucial to facilitating the flow of creative ideas. Regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and open-door policies are just a few ways to encourage employees to engage with one another and share their thoughts. In addition, by fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, you help to create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and taking risks.

Another key aspect of cultivating a courageous culture is empowering employees to take ownership of their work. By providing opportunities for growth and development, you instil pride in their accomplishments and inspire them to strive for improvement continuously. Encourage employees to set ambitious goals, seek new challenges, and learn from their mistakes. Doing so promotes a culture of continuous learning and improvement, ultimately benefiting the entire organisation.

Recognising and celebrating employees’ contributions is also essential in building a courageous culture. Regularly acknowledge their efforts, reward exceptional performance, and provide constructive feedback to help them grow. Employees who feel valued and recognised for their hard work are more likely to be motivated and engaged.

This article is co-created by NexPage, a translated book summary app, and Workipedia by MyCareersFuture.

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