Two women in a meetingHealthy communication in the workplace is critical to improving employee health, lessening daily stress, and improving company productivity. Unfortunately, many employers neglect to train their employees in healthy communication habits. Below are five characteristics that distinguish healthy communicators from unhealthy ones, and applying these principles in the workplace will surely create a healthier environment.


Using Specifics
Especially when raising issues, concerns, or complaints, using specifics is critical to healthy communication in the workplace. When expressing a concern about excessive management oversight, for example, managers will hear a complaint much more clearly when it’s about a specific incident or action.


Careful Listening
Conversations don’t go well when two people are talking past each other. As such, healthy communication in the workplace requires that individuals listen to what others are saying. When having a conversation, listen carefully to your partner’s statements so you can respond in a way that’s meaningful and on-topic.


Non-Passive “I” Statements
To effectively get a point across, healthy communicators use “I” statements, and aren’t passive in their language. For example, asking your employer for a telecommuting option by saying “some of us here at the company might be interested in telecommuting, and think a policy could maybe benefit our productivity” is better said as “I believe I could benefit from having a telecommuting option, and want to work with you to create a policy.”


Positive Speaking
No one likes a debbie downer. Trying to find the good side of a bad situation will lighten up your workplace, and make for healthier communication. Healthy communicators always strive to be positive, and think twice before saying something negative. Even if a person must voice a negative issue – a complaint or otherwise – healthy communicators phrase their concern in a positive way. Doing so leads to more receptivity from listeners.


Limiting Conflict Overflow
Sometimes, conflicts are inevitable. When they do happen, however, there are ways to undertake damage control to prevent the conflict from becoming a workplace-wide issue. The first characteristic of effective conflict management involves resisting the temptation to involve yourself in other people’s conflicts. Even if you think you would be a good mediator, often times it’s better to let the conflict resolve itself. Secondly, it might be tempting to seek management’s assistance, but the presence of people with higher authority can sometimes add more stress to a conflict. Good communication should emphasize limiting conflicts to only the employees involved.

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