Organisations benefit from people speaking up and voicing their opinions, suggestions or even any concerns they have. Businesses then become better at handling these kinds of situations.

In some circumstances, employees often keep these things to themselves and remain silent with their opinions, suggestions and concerns, and usually in these cases, it’s because they lack the disposition to stand up and speak their mind about things; they might be too shy to voice their opinions and views to the team. This perspective gives rise to solutions such as hiring employees who have proactive dispositions and are more inclined to speak the truth and voice their opinions.

However, is the reason why people fail to speak up because they feel their work environment is not conductive for it? They might fear suffering significant social costs by challenging higher management. This perspective leads to solutions focused on how managers need to create the right social norms which then encourages employees to voice opinions and suggestions without any fear of doing so.

If it’s down to personality, it shouldn’t result in it being a situational matter; no matter the situation you are in, you should feel as though you can voice your opinion regardless. Although, if the problem is because of the work environment, personality becomes less important and this is then down to the way you feel because of the workplace, not because of anything else.

Employees with a high approach orientation, who tend to seek opportunities and take more risks, typically speak up more often with ideas compared to those with a lower approach orientation. Also, employees who believe they are expected to suggest ideas, speak up more than those who don’t feel it is part of their job. In some cases, it might be that because you are further up in the business, you have more of a say in some things. For example, individual department managers may have more to say over someone who, perhaps, works in admin or sales, however, this doesn’t mean this is done on their own accord. This could be because the job role itself involves speaking up and voicing opinions.

Strong environment norms could override the personalities on employee’s willingness to speak up at work. Even if people are lower down in the business and they don’t tend to have to voice opinions much, they should still speak up when they think it’s strongly expected from them at work or even if they just feel like they need to. The organisation’s social norms matter; even people who are most inclined to raise ideas and suggestions may not do so because they feel as though they will be put down or penalised. On the flip side, the best thing to do is encourage and reward speaking up and help more people who have fear of doing so, even if their personality makes them more risk averse.

What is your work place like? Do employees feel comfortable standing up and voicing opinions, suggestions or even concerns?

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