Social issues always arise in the work environment, especially when workers meet to drink or talk. These issues can range from different topics, some of which are very delicate, sensitive, and can become heated easily. Since heated discussions can lead to conflicts in the work environment and cause low productivity, it is best to avoid them. But how can this kind of situation be stopped when it is obvious these discussions can’t be avoided?
The answer to the question is Civil Discourse, a method of holding respectful and productive discussions where all parties are heard, and all opinions are treated equally. When used at the workplace, civil discourse can ensure sensitive discussions are not avoided but are approached more productively.
In this article, we will look at what civil discourse is, how it works, and how to engage in it in the work environment.
What is Civil Discourse, and How Does it Work?
Civil discourse is a conversation or discussion aimed at increasing people’s understanding of a particular subject, whether the parties involved agree or not.
Civil discourse at work is a great tool for holding respectful and productive discussions among team members, with everyone feeling supported, respected, and part of the team. This kind of discussion is not limited to only group discussions. It can also be used in individual conversations to enrich workers’ perspectives.
Engaging in Civil Discourse in the Work Environment
Civil discourse is great for building a good work culture, but you must know how to use it to make the most use of it. There are several ways this can be done, but the following can help you engage in civil discourse at work.
Create the space for Civil discourse
When engaging in discussions at work, remember that your colleagues and employees have unique identities and individuality. These identities come into play in how they think and which topics are sensitive to them or not. Remember, they have their individual experiences.
So, to engage in civil discourse, you must make sure whatever you say is well-calculated and devoid of infuriating statements. The best way is to stay thoughtful and respectful so everyone can contribute during the discussion.
Maintain an open dialogue
An open dialogue is one in which every party is allowed to air their opinion, and every opinion is received with an open mind.
When coworkers understand that their opinions might never be the same and see things from various perspectives, then understanding each other would be much easier, even if no unanimous agreement is reached.
Stay Focused on the issue
During a conversation or dialogue at work, parties must endeavor to stick to the issue on the ground and not deviate from it. There is no need to become too emotional or to attack another party’s personality. Remember that you are there to work; whatever the discussion or disagreement is should not affect work or spill into it.
Also, you need to learn the importance of using facts and figures to support your opinions. Doing this would help you avoid the temptation of using personal beliefs or convictions during a sensitive discussion.
Engaging in civil discourse in the work environment would require active listening, which helps to promote healthy and productive conversations.
The workers should understand that civil discourse is not about which opinion is right or wrong. Or which is superior to the other. Civil discourse entails listening actively to different opinions. Active listening is not only done when you are quiet. It can also be done while you are speaking.
Active listening in the workplace will help workers appreciate themselves more than before. It will also create a work environment where everyone is happy to contribute because they know whatever suggestion, option, or thoughts they bring are valid and listened to actively.
Create and set clear boundaries
Engaging in civil discourse in the work environment would require you to create and set boundaries. These safe boundaries should be observed in all discussions, professional or personal.
Suppose there are sensitive topics that might affect the people at work. In that case, it’s safer to see boundaries around those topics.
Setting boundaries is also great for ensuring your employees or coworkers have a healthy workplace atmosphere. They can freely express their views and opinions without fear of being attacked.
When there are no boundaries, then parties attacking each other’s personalities and not focusing on the issue will become uncontrollable.
Every conversation and dialogue would be more productive in the work environment if workers engaged in civil discourse.
It would not only help to create a healthy environment where workers are safe and can express their opinions and thoughts, but it also increases productivity, which the company or organization can benefit from. Why not give it a try today?