Merge's Blog

Resiliency at work starts with a culture of openness

Today is Tip #12 in our continuing series on building resiliency at work.  The strategy is to deliberately create a culture of openness.

Deliberately create a culture of openness

If you are serious about building resiliency at work, then it is absolutely critical that you create a culture of openness where your people are willing to admit what they are really feeling and thinking.

Answer me honestly.  Are your team members able to have open, honest dialogues with each other?  About what is working?  And about what isn’t?  Do they ‘fess up and own their mistakes?  Do they feel comfortable about offering feedback, whether it’s positive or negative?  Are your staff willing to admit that they are struggling to cope?

Three ideas to create a culture of openness

The reality is that resilient teams are able to speak the truth to each other in order to collectively identify and solve for the challenges they face.  And the tone for this environment is set at the top.  As a leader, it is your responsibility to create a climate where this degree of openness exists that further creates resiliency at work.  Perhaps you’re asking – how does one do that?  I’m so glad you asked, as I have three specific ideas.

  1. Be a role model.  Offer positive feedback when it is deserved, and be kind in your criticism.  Show vulnerability.  If you make a mistake, admit it.  Your behaviour and actions set the tone for how your team members will behave and act, so demonstrate open and honest communication, and your staff will follow.
  2. Don’t shoot the messenger.  If you say you want open and honest communication, and then you lose your cool the first time a team member tries it, you’ve immediately shut down any culture of openness you might be trying to communicate.  Not only will you be unsuccessful in creating resiliency at work, you’ll probably be damaging it.
  3. Share stories about personal experiences.  Yours and your staff members.  But also encourage senior and other leaders in the organization to publicly share their personal experiences of how they have developed their resilience. This helps your employees know that they can be honest about how they feel without any negative repercussions.

Ongoing effort will yield positive results

Creating a culture of openness is an ongoing effort.  As is establishing resiliency at work.  Put energy and momentum into it, and you’ll see the results in your people and performance.

A culture of openness starts at the top.  With you, the leader.  What are you doing to create a climate of openness in your department or organization?  I’ve given you three ideas, but I’d love you hear what you are doing.  Please share your specific approaches by adding a comment below, and we’ll all learn from one another.

This is our twelfth tip in this series and if you’re interested in some of the past ones, you can access them below:

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