It’s natural to feel reluctant about voicing your emotions, opinions, ideas or frustration to managers or senior colleagues at work. You might be worried that you’ll be judged for speaking out, or that expressing your opinion might affect your career prospects.

However, shying away from difficult conversations rules out the opportunity to deal with the situation or find a solution. Underlying issues can become toxic, leading to growing tension and simmering conflict. By speaking out honestly and with integrity, you can clear the air and take action to improve the circumstances you’re facing. This offers an opportunity for you to develop as an individual and for your organisation to foster a positive and supportive culture. You could inspire others and give them the confidence to do the same.

To be a constructive force for positive change, the conversation needs careful handling. Kelvin Olusanya, a trainee chartered accountant at Moore Kingston Smith, shares his advice about how to find both the confidence and the sensitivity to communicate honestly at work.

Honest conversations don’t just empower you as an individual, they build a culture of trust in your organisation so that issues can be encountered and solved with integrity.

These are my top tips to for open and honest communication:

  • Plan ahead. Outline what you’d like to discuss in writing. Prioritise each point you want to make
  • Stick to the facts. Leave the emotion aside, even if the conversation is about how you’re feeling. Explain the solutions that have been tried already and how they’ve worked out
  • Add your own ideas. Make suggestions for positive improvement or alternative solutions
  • Choose your time. Be sure that the person you’re talking to has time and space to focus on your conversation without being distracted
  • Slow down. Take a moment for an extra breath between each point so you can speak calmly without judgement or being confrontational
  • Listen. Be open to discussing other options. During the conversation you might discover a fresh perspective and formulate new ideas
  • Test it. If there’s resistance to a change you’d like to make, suggest that it’s implemented just for fixed period and learn from experience
  • Agree next steps. Decide together what action needs to be taken, who will do it and when. Be flexible and accountable
  • Review. Set a time to revisit this topic to assess progress and decide if further action is needed

Build the right personal and professional skills to give you confidence and that will get you noticed with CABA’s online training and interactive webinars. Or get in touch with CABA to work 1-2-1 with a career coach whether you’re looking for a new role or focusing on taking the next step in your career.

This article was written by: Kelvin Olusanya, an ACA student working at Moore Kingston Smith.

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