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When people feel psychologically unsafe or undervalued at work, they often protest quietly and unconsciously. They may stop trying to work hard or may subtly undermine leadership. They may become disengaged at a great cost to the global economy.
If you're a leader and want to avoid walkouts or checkouts before they happen, you can do three things.
Walkouts and checkouts happen when employees don't feel heard, respected or considered. Some people close down and shut off when they feel like they don't belong or are unimportant.
Managers can avoid this pitfall by frequently inviting people to speak up at work. These invitations should be a routine part of our engagement with each other.
Sometimes, employees will raise issues that leader's don't agree with. At that moment, leaders can choose what kind of culture they will have.
At a minimum, we can have a dialogue. We can try to find some common ground. If that is not possible:
Just trying to avoid checkouts and walkouts is setting a low bar. We can strive for more by inviting people to bring their whole selves to work. We are more than the sum of our resumes.
When everyone can bring the entirety of life experiences, they can increase what they have to offer.
On Monday morning, talk to ten different people at your organisation and ask them in person or online:
"What don't we talk about around here that we should be talking about?"
You may get awkward silence at first, but later people will probably come back to you with an answer. By asking this question, you have created an openness to keep asking questions.
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