Are you allowed to speak your mind as long as you agree?

Johan Book

Johan Book

In your organisation, are you allowed to speak your mind as long as you agree? or can you say what you think for real?

“In our company you can speak your mind, and everyone says what they think!” Have you heard it before? With the more conviction it is said, the less likely it is actually true. But for those companies where it is the case, it doesn’t need to be said, they instead talk about how they can improve their business.

In Edward L Deci’s and Richard Ryan’s management theory “self-determination theory”, we see, among other things, that caring for others, security and the opportunity to make an impact are important factors for us to both feel and perform well at work. Unfortunately, work psychology research is a poorly applied science in business life. We can improve a lot at taking what we already know through extensive research on what makes us more motivated, feel more engaged, feel good, develop, cooperate better, become more innovative and perform better.

How can we create a culture where you can speak your mind then?

To succeed, we must dare to remove the “silent culture” and accept that nothing improves when we close our eyes. We should, in the best way possible, involve managers as well as employees in developing clear target images where it’s room for encouragement, continuous follow-up and feedback.

We need to create an environment where everyone gets to take place. So the employees (managers are also employees) feel that their opinions count, that their knowledge is valuable and taken advantage of in the best way. Everything with a single goal – to develop both the individual and the business for the better.

Here are four tips on how to create a culture where everybody gets to speak their mind!

1. Embrace your problems!
Choosing not to see problems solves nothing, they will be there anyway. I promise. So, don’t be afraid of the problems you are facing, no matter how hard it is. Embrace them, it’s free organisational development. And the sooner you see how to use “problems”, “opinions” and “criticism” as tools to improve, the easier it will be.

2. Encourage ideas and invite everyone!
Make sure to develop a leadership where ideas are utilised. Let all managers and employees also be business developers, they usually possess knowledge of the business and the stakeholders that you won’t find anywhere else. Therefore, invite everyone to develop the business. Don’t take all the responsibility for the implementation but help to create an implementation force. Also make sure to highlight the effect for everyone in the organisation. Then you are definitely on your way to creating an innovative organisation.

3. How is it going? How are you?
Discuss continuously with your employees, create a dialogue and mutual trust. The better you know your employees, the easier you will find it to lead them in the best way possible. Continuously ask three questions to your employees:
– How are you?
– How is it going?
– Can I help you in any way?

And never forget that magic word “thank you” when your employees have done something good.

4. Follow up your work continuously!
Following up on your set goals increases work performance with an average of 25 percent. An increase few managers and employers would refuse. So be sure to continuously follow up your work, both in terms of successes and adversities. Make sure it’s okay to fail, as long as you make sure you learn something from it. Fortune favours the bold!

Good luck!
/ Johan


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