Most work environments are becoming less civil and safe for sensitive discussions, probably because of the polarized state of our society. Topics ranging from politics to business or religious beliefs can trigger this uncivilized conversation, with employees forgetting the importance of civil discourse in arriving at a productive conclusion.
Some companies have a work culture that aligns with or strengthens civil discourse. Others don’t, which is not very ideal. A work environment that doesn’t inculcate civil discourse in its work culture exposes its employees to different levels of risks.
The most prominent is that the work environment is not safe, not productive, and definitely not free of harassment that might arise from heated discussions. And the possibility of having a heated discussion in the office is quite high.
Why? Everyone there has their own different opinions about things. And without civil discourse imbibed in the work culture, they have no other choice than think their opinion is superior. The discussion is bound to get messy in such situations as there’s no common ground.
This shouldn’t be in a work environment. The workplace should be safe for work and engaging and participating in sensitive discussions. How can you do that? How can you make your workplace more civilized in heated discussions about sensitive issues?
The answer is simple. Inculcate the work culture that promotes civil discourse. But how?
Developing Civil Discourse in the Workplace
Civil discourse is an effective tool that can improve other employees in your workplace or the workplace itself. This makes it very important. To foster and develop civil discourse, there are some things you have to do, whether you are a manager, an employer, or an employee.
All discussions must be according to company value.
Every organization, business, or enterprise has a set of core values. These values show you what a company represents or how they do what they do. As a manager or employer, you need to make sure your company’s values are clear and specific so that your employees understand them. These values should also revolve around how your team holds or engages in any level or kind of discussion. You, too, should respect these values.
As an employee, respecting your company’s values, especially when discussing with other employees, helps grow a healthy work culture. It promotes unity, team building, increased productivity, and so on. Not to mention the numerous benefits civil discourse had to offer.
Practice active listening in all discussions.
Listening can never be overrated, especially regarding civil discourse in the work environment. You must practice active listening to foster and develop civil discourse in your workplace. This does not end in listening to what the other party in your workplace says during a conversation. It also involves repeating something they said while speaking or checking with them to know what they really meant by what they said.
A company’s management team can also use active listening to let their staff know they are heard, their views are respected, and their opinions are always welcomed. This way, the employees would hardly turn strident and become more productive.
Good work culture is one where all employees have a common ground or goal. This is one secret recipe for engaging and partaking in civil discourse. Common ground helps opposing parties look past their differences, and it can play better roles in your company.
Instead of dwelling on another person’s varying opinion, why not find a common view you both share? This way, talking about sensitive discussions among your teammates wouldn’t be as heated as it would have been if there was no common ground.
As a manager or an employer, you can encourage your employees to find this common ground by using every and any opportunity to build bridges. Always let them know their common goals, and like stated earlier, remind them of the organization’s values and mission. This way, they will be more encouraged to engage in civil discourse with other coworkers.
There are lots of ways civil discourse can be developed and fostered in work culture. Still, it’s easy if you use the following civil discourse approaches during conversations in your workplace.
- Be unbiased in every discussion
- When criticizing, be constructive and also open to receiving criticism
- If you must give an opinion, it must be valuable
- Always look for common ground
- Always be flexible; being rigid is not good for civil discourse.