10 Steps to Energizing Employees with Healthy Debates

Let’s face it, the business world is changing. Companies used to be solely top-down organizations. These days, however, many businesses have turned to utilizing a more team-focused, democratic process—one that includes bottom-up feedback rather than simply top-down. This more open and involved business process is one that encourages employees, at all levels, to debate and discuss their viewpoints openly and without fear of repercussions.

Without further ado, here are ten steps your company can take to encourage employees to energetically participate in discussions and debates.

1) Create a culture where every employee has a voice:

Create an environment that encourages debate, and candid discussion between all levels of your organization. However, that’s no longer true in today’s workplace. Younger workers tend to expect to have a voice in every major decision made by the organization.

2) Ensure that debate is not only a right, but an obligation:

Debate and discussion should not only be allowed and encouraged, but expected from everyone in your company. Create “permission zones” that make this clear.

3) Educate Employees:

Educate employees with training, so they can understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy debate, while developing problem-solving skills.

4) Disagreement not only can be, but should be constructive:

Promote this idea within your organization to help encourage healthy debates, focusing on making feedback constructive rather than solely critical.

5) Keep debates respectful:

Discussions and debates must be respectful, while differing viewpoints also need to be supported and heard out.

6) Keep discussions on track with facts and data:

This helps keep discussions from deteriorating into differences of personal opinion and personal criticism.

7) Set ground rules for debates and discussions:

For instance, as mentioned above, it’s necessary to use facts and data, personal criticisms are not allowed, etc.

8) Understand when a debate should be public or private:

If a debate or discussion has delved into criticism or other issues, it’s a good idea to have the discussion in private. Criticism should pertain to the merit of the underlying idea and be based on facts and data.

9) Know when it’s time to step away from a debate and when to continue:

It may be necessary to have a break in the discussion in order to regroup and ascertain the facts and data, so that your team can come to the best decision.

10) Know how and when to choose your battles:

Too little debate may cause issues to go ignored, while too much debating can keep your team from coming to a final decision, creating a bottleneck, which effects your entire business.

Follow these ten steps to encourage your staff to participate in debates and discusses between all levels of your organization. Let our Adapt team of Improvement Strategists help your employees develop a voice and encourage them to participate in debates. Your staff will develop the confidence and the tools for healthy engagement across all levels of your organization. Healthy debates and discussions will result in new ideas and opportunities to elevate your business.

To learn more about Adapt Consulting’s improvement services and how we energize employees and cultivate a culture of open communication, creativity and innovation, take a moment and book a quick 15-minute assessment. A member of our team will give you a no-pressure-call, at a time that’s convenient for you, to speak with you about your goals.

“It’s not how good you are. It’s how good you want to be.” – Paul Arden


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