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Learning to Lean – My Experience of Open Communication in the Workplace

If working from home has taught us anything, it’s the importance of a supportive team who have plenty of open communication. Whether it’s a one-to-one with your manager or a group session where everyone can bounce ideas off each other, these daily conversations are an invaluable part of the modern workplace. Here one of our newer team members, Sophie, reflects on her experiences of communication: supportive or less so.


What matters most to me in the workplace

Not long into my journey in the working world, I knew my choice of job would be driven by workplace culture: no amount of money or reputation would keep me in a role or organisation that incited unhealthy competition or discord. To find a workplace and a role that aligned with these values, I had to ask myself:

  1. What do I think a good workplace looks like?
  2. What experiences have I already had?

Since joining Real Conversations Work, it’s occurred to me that all the things that have made my job enjoyable are all connected to good communication (perhaps unsurprisingly!)


Good team communication in action

Our team not only values productive work meetings but also has conversations that aren’t solely ‘work based’. These are great for building our team and have also helped to foster genuine friendship. Even though we work remotely, I’ve always felt like part of the Real Conversations Work team. This started with a welcome package before my first day and continues with team socials and regular check-ins. It’s also been great that we’re encouraged to share and chat openly. If something is going on personally it impacts your work so having a perceptive manager has fostered a psychologically safe (physical and virtual) workspace.


A less positive experience with teamwork

My previous experience with online teamwork was a stark contrast to my experiences

In this role. I did my MSc entirely remotely during COVID so wasn’t able to build much rapport with my coursemates outside of the allocated lecture hour. So when it came to teamwork, I often felt an underlying sense of competition even though we were technically a team. While we supported each other in achieving our overall mark, the process felt very solitary.


The value of support in the workplace

A good team and workplace are somewhere you feel supported and valued and in a role that keeps you curious and motivated. Regardless of whether the task challenges or even interests me, I enjoy the knowledge that my input and effort are beneficial. However, at Real Conversations Work, I’m working in an area that interests me personally and professionally, having done my MSc in Intercultural Communications for Business. More importantly, though, I think I’m so happy in my current role because, as a company, we practice what we preach.

I was quite new to Insights Discovery when I started and have been impressed at how it supported my self-awareness as well as offered my team the necessary insight into how I work. As someone with ADHD, in the past I’ve been unsure about disclosing my neurodiversity in the workplace. I worry about possible prejudice that comes with the stereotypes e.g., being disorganised or forgetful. Instead of being labelled, my Insights Discovery profile highlighted my strengths, communicative do’s and don’ts, blind spots, and motivations. This allowed the team to discuss and identify helpful accommodations. These are the conversations that have made me feel safe in speaking up, getting guidance, and feedback (both giving and receiving – two things that can be difficult).

While this blog talks about my experiences at work, I feel as though it’s a testament to Sarah’s ability to nurture and empower teams through supportive conversations and good leadership. Personally, I’ve needed to experience and learn from being able to lean on others in the team and lean into new projects.

Feeling inspired to build this type of culture at your organisation? Book a free call with us to talk it through.

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