Strategy & Consultancy

How can we overcome communication challenges in the workplace?

Are you tired of encountering communication roadblocks in your workplace? Are you eager to create an environment where every voice is valued and heard? I will discuss six key phenomena that shape the dynamics of modern work environments. Through research and insights, this thought-provoking exploration aims to unravel the complexities of communication challenges. Discover practical strategies and actionable steps to foster inclusivity, respect, and effective collaboration in your workplace.

Posted on:14 décembre 2023
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Manterruptions: more than just interruptions

Consider the common scenario where a woman is speaking and gets abruptly interrupted, often by a man. This phenomenon, known as "manterruption," not only disrupts the flow of conversation but also undermines the speaker's confidence and the value of her contribution. It reflects a deeper issue of gender dynamics in communication, where the voices of women are frequently overshadowed or disregarded. To combat "manterruptions," we can implement conversational rules such as 'no interruption' policies, use meeting role cards to assign a conversation moderator, and introduce visible timers to ensure equal speaking time for all participants.

Meeting Housework: the unseen labor

After a meeting, who typically takes on the task of cleaning up or organizing the next steps? Often, these tasks, dubbed "meeting housework," fall disproportionately on women. This practice, whether conscious or unconscious, leads to gender stereotypes and workplace inequality. Research shows that 47% of women are asked to perform tasks not expected of their male colleagues, such as taking minutes or ordering food, limiting their time for core activities and hindering their professional growth. To overcome this bias, implement a rotation system for meeting-related tasks and acknowledge these contributions as part of the team's overall performance metrics. Additionally, regardless of your position, take a moment to help with cleanup after meetings, especially if you're in a position of privilege or authority. Organize a meeting to discuss office tasks and brainstorm which tasks should be included, ensuring they are not assumed to be enjoyable or rewarding by specific colleagues.

Bro-propriation: the theft of credit

Ever heard an idea originally proposed by a woman being later attributed to a man? This is "bro-propriation," a subtle yet insidious form of idea theft that can lead to frustration and a sense of injustice among those whose contributions are overlooked. It's a reflection of the gender biases that still permeate many workplaces, where men's voices and ideas are often given more weight and recognition than those of their female colleagues. For "bro-propriation," solutions include anonymous idea submission systems to prevent bias, clear acknowledgment protocols to credit the original idea owner, and structured feedback mechanisms that support and recognize contributions from all team members.

Misdirected questions: stereotypes at play

When questions are directed based on stereotypes rather than expertise, it not only undermines the credibility of the person being questioned but also perpetuates gender stereotypes. A personal experience underscores this: in a meeting with my former supervisor, questions were consistently directed to her despite my expertise. She had to repeatedly redirect the conversation to me, highlighting the pervasive nature of these stereotypes. Encouraging a culture where team members are aware of each other's expertise and direct questions accordingly, irrespective of gender or other stereotypes, is crucial.

Names & pronouns: small acts, big impact!

Mispronouncing someone's name may seem minor but can be a form of microaggression. It shows a lack of effort to respect and acknowledge an individual's identity, which can be particularly impactful in a diverse workplace setting. To ensure proper use of names encourage team members to politely correct others when mistakes are made. Learning and correctly using names is crucial. If you're unsure how to pronounce someone's name, ask them. It's better to inquire and learn than to assume and get it wrong. Avoid making nicknames for someone whose name is difficult for you to remember, as this can be perceived as disrespectful.

As we reimagine our workplace communications, we call upon each of you to be agents of change. Step forward and share your ideas, challenge the norms, and actively participate in creating a more inclusive environment. Whether it's through initiating dialogue, suggesting new policies, or simply listening with an open mind, your involvement is crucial. Your voice matters, and together, we can make a significant difference.

Written bySana Sellami

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