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Having open communication in the workplace decreases misunderstandings and employee errors. Open communication is also very integral when it comes to building any interpersonal relationship. Not only does open communication promote honesty but it also builds trust among work colleagues and peers. It’s important for every employee to feel comfortable expressing themselves regardless of their personal opinions. As long as communication is done respectfully, leaders should maintain a work environment that promotes and prioritizes open communication. Open communication allows for issues to actually be resolved instead of minimizing problems and being passive with employees’ concerns. To encourage open communication, leaders should do the following:

Promote a Judgment Free Zone

People are likely to voice their opinions more often when they don’t fear discrimination or persecution. To promote a truly open and transparent communication, leaders should promote individuality. Everyone is entitled to have their own free-thought as well as the ability to express their unique views. By being more accepting of colleagues with their own individualistic approaches, team members will be less reluctant to share their ideas regarding projects, assignments or management.

Pay Attention

Employees should never feel disregarded while they are speaking. Leaders should be willing to give their undivided attention to their colleagues while they are speaking. This shows them that their leader is really listening and taking their words into consideration. Leaders should turn their phone volumes down during meetings and engage in asking questions. Also, eye contact is recommended when talking and listening to other people speak.

Ask For and Consider Suggestions

To increase employee engagement, leaders should ask them for suggestions. This also increases employee morale as they see their leader trusts their judgment. Leaders should also follow through on good suggestions and give credit to those individuals who offer a good strategy/plan of action. This shows that leaders trust the competence of their colleagues, allowing for more job satisfaction.

Ask Not Demand

A key difference between a boss and a leader is that bosses tell their employees to do something while leaders take the time to teach their colleagues how to do a task. This extra detail helps foster a close relationship between a leader and his/her team. Leaders should frame requests in the form of a question instead of making a demand