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Establishing Honest Communication Within your Organization

Hi, and a warm welcome to The Human Side of Business Podcast. I'm your host Ange MacCabe. I'm pleased to introduce you to Steven Gaffney, President and CEO at Steven Gaffney Company.


For 20+ years, Steven has been helping top leaders, teams, and organizations create Consistent, High-Achieving Teams across all organizations. Steven is a consultant, public speaker and author with a passion for unlocking and teaching people how to communicate at high-achieving and consistent levels.


In this episode, Steven and I examine what it takes to establish honest communication within the workplace and why it's essential for an organization's ROI.


Emotionally Intelligent Communication


Steven Gaffney: When I talk about honest communication, I'm talking about a certain element of that, and that's about what people don't say to each other. In fact, if people forget everything out of what we're going to talk about, the most important message right up front is the biggest problem in life is not what people say; it's actually what they don't say to each other. It's, you know, withholding, although people don't like that. Oh, I'm not lying. Well, if you let somebody not say something to you and you feel like they lied to you, that is a breakdown of trust, so the key is to get the unsaid items said.


Whole Person Performance


Ange MacCabe: I think that it's safe to speak, and so I speak, and then it's like I'm taken aback based on others' reactions. And I'm kind of like, well, wait. I thought we were supposed to talk this way, and then I'm feeling kind of like I have this vulnerability hangover. And to your point, I'm on the blacklist, and I still believe that there's a lot more work that needs to be done because what you're speaking to, Steven, is having kind of that emotional Whole Person Performance approach is kind of what we dub here at Intuity Performance. Whole Person Performance, meaning that our hearts and feelings aren't left at home; they come with us. We're a whole package, and so separating our work self from our personal self is no longer a thing. But then, how do you help employers feel comfortable? Because from a societal perspective, it's been so uncomfortable to talk about feelings in the workplace or to get deep in the workplace or even personal in the workplace.


Creating Emotional Safety


Steven Gaffney: In my experiences, and I've been at this for over 25 years is, people can think it's safe, but they need to feel that it's safe. It's about creating that emotional safety, and that is the most important trait in a leader. Because if you create that emotional safety, people will share stuff, and you don't have to make all the right decisions because if something goes the wrong direction, people will tell you if they fear the outcome of speaking up, they'll shut down. So creating that emotional safety is the key.


Redefining Comfort


Ange MacCabe: How do you move people from a place of discomfort to comfort? Because that's a learned behaviour, for sure.


Steven Gaffney: Well, first of all, is to reframe comfort. When we're uncomfortable, that's a sign of growth. It's not a sign to stop. Now, there are certain exceptions to that, but overall, somebody will say, well, I'm just not comfortable with that, and I'm like, okay, so what's your point? But actually, when we grow in life - I can think of many, many teachers and mentors of mine from whom I've learned so much and who pushed me to do something. Sometimes I was like, I don't even agree. But I did it, and I'm so thankful.


If you're interested in learning more from our Spotlight Leaders check out Gabriel Cowan's Leadership Spotlight on: Creating a Healthy and Consistent Company Culture


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