Top 5 benefits of conscious communication at work
Effective team communication plays a pivotal role in fostering a harmonious and productive work environment. Practising conscious communication in the workplace not only promotes efficient communication in teams, it also encourages introspective behaviours in team members, which can lead to:
- increased self-awareness;
- more opportunity for personal growth;
- greater efficiency in decision-making;
- increased emotional intelligence.
Moreover, it is important to recognise that the ability to clearly express needs and desires is not always an innate talent but rather a skill that can be developed and used for successful team communication.
There are numerous benefits associated with practising conscious communication at work, so we’ll focus on the top five:
- Enhanced understanding to reduce conflict and miscommunication: conscious communication fosters active listening, empathy, clarity, and tools to develop constructive responses and respectful dialogue when faced with conflict. This allows individuals to better understand the perspectives of others, leading to more instances of collaboration, and reduced instances of miscommunication and frustration.
- Increased productivity, innovation and creativity: when your team is on the same page about their tasks and duties; the company’s mission and vision; and how they fit into the bigger picture of the organisation, tasks can be completed more efficiently, which boosts overall productivity. Moreover, increased clarity about job responsibilities can inspire team members to act confidently when approaching tasks, allowing more space for innovative and creative problem-solving.
- Positive work environment: conscious communication promotes a respectful and trusting work culture, which in turn creates a more positive and harmonious workplace. This can increase employee satisfaction and morale.
- Stress reduction: allowing employees to articulate their concerns in a space where they feel they are being heard leads to greater mental (and even physical) health, subsequently reducing the impact that work-related stressors have on their overall wellbeing.
- Improved leadership: leaders who practise conscious communication are regarded as approachable and understanding. This promotes their ability to inspire and motivate their teams in a more effective manner.
What is conscious communication?
Conscious communication is a multi-dimensional concept that outlines the notion that a person can shape what they say and how they behave to elicit a desired response from their audience. Someone who practises conscious communication has an in-depth perception of and control over how their words and actions influence others. Out of context, this sounds somewhat menacing, however conscious communication is used for various (non-manipulation) work-related purposes:
- Respectful conduct: showing respect for and appreciation of others and their work.
- Increased emotional intelligence: integrating emotional intelligence into what you say (verbal) and what you do (non-verbal) when interacting with your colleagues to have a constructive impact on their wellbeing.
- Controlled responses: Actively listening to and engaging with how your colleagues respond to your comments and behaviours, and managing your acknowledgment of their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Conscious communication: build on your team’s approach to communicating with insight, compassion and purpose.
As managers, we are responsible for creating an environment that equips our team with the knowledge, space and resources they need for good team dynamics and communication.
To build a culture of conscious communications you must first be willing to role-model the behaviour you wish to see. Once you are practising what you preach, here are some valuable tips to support you in this process:
- Emphasise the learnability of communication:
Teach your staff that communicating with team members effectively is a skill that can be learnt and improved upon. Encourage them to embrace a growth mindset and invest in developing their communication abilities. Provide access to resources, workshops, and training sessions that focus on enhancing conscious communication in the workplace.
- Foster a safe and open environment:
Create an environment where team members feel safe and comfortable expressing their thoughts and needs. Encourage open dialogue, active listening, and non-judgmental feedback as fundamental aspects of your team communication strategies. Lead by example and demonstrate respectful communication practices in your interactions with your team.
- Teach the principle of conscious communication:
In the words of Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, “conscious communication is […] when you are totally effective, totally understood and totally truthful”.
Introduce the principle of conscious communication, which involves making it easy for others to understand and meet their needs by requesting specific behaviours. Explain that demanding and threatening approaches often lead to resistance and resentment. Emphasise the importance of clarity, empathy, and respect in team communications.
- Provide a framework for conscious communication:
Share a simple process for practising conscious communication. Adapt the insightful work of psychologist Marshall Rosenberg and strive to improve team communication by guiding your colleagues through the following steps:
- Identify the triggering event: Encourage team members to objectively describe the event that caused their emotional upset. This helps them gain clarity and separate facts from interpretations when communicating with team members.
- Take responsibility for emotions: Teach team members to express their feelings using words that describe their sensations rather than reinforcing a sense of victimisation. Help them understand the importance of informing rather than blaming others for their emotions. This will give them the necessary foundation for understanding how to approach conscious communication in business.
- Identify unmet needs: Guide team members to identify the needs that are not being fulfilled in a given situation. Highlight that self-awareness is crucial in recognising and articulating their needs.
- Make clear requests: Instruct your team on how to make specific requests that communicate their needs effectively. Encourage them to express their requests as positive, actionable statements rather than demands. Explain that fulfilling requests creates a sense of empowerment and strengthens relationships.
- Encourage practice and feedback:
When practising conscious communication and offering your team feedback, remember these wise words from Russian Playwright, Anton Chekhov, “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice”.
To internalise what you are teaching them, your team needs to practise communicating consciously. The steps to improving team communication are relatively simple to follow, what your team really needs to progress and develop is your expert guidance, unbiased feedback and compassionate approach to leadership.
Encourage your team members to practise conscious communication in their day-to-day interactions. You can even provide opportunities for role-playing exercises and give constructive feedback to help them refine their skills. Regularly recognise and celebrate instances of effective conscious communication within the team.
- Support workplace emotional wellbeing:
Remind your team that conscious communication contributes to emotional wellbeing. Explain that by expressing their needs clearly and respectfully, they can reduce emotional distress and create more comfortable and harmonious work relationships.
- Seek support from consultants:
Engage with workplace wellbeing consultants to support your organisation in implementing conscious communication practices and support you in feeling confident to facilitate the appropriate space to support your team members. These experts can offer guidance, strategies and tailored solutions that align with your organisation’s specific needs and goals.
There is no quick-fix when it comes to building conscious communication in teams.
Effective team communication is a continuous journey, and it requires ongoing support, practice, and reinforcement through leadership. By prioritising these principles as a leader, you and your team will begin to see how conscious communication supports your team culture, fostering constructive working relationships, engagement, trust, and mutual understanding.
For more information on promoting supportive team dynamics, encouraging effective team communication and driving the performance of your business, visit our website.