Say It or Leave It: Communication and Perspective in the Workplace



You thought the new marketing strategy Tom came up with was lacking. It wasn’t “bad” or “boring”, but definitely lacked the “oomph” factor you were hoping to see. The other employees in your weekly meeting thought Tom’s plan was good. Some others settled with “we can work with that”.

If there’s one moment when the famous “peer to peer coaching” is needed, this is one situation where you could use one.  You wish your colleagues would voice out their opinions first. But since nobody else is speaking up, you’re torn about whether to be “honest and opinionated” or “passive but safely disengaged” even though you know that deep down, you still think the marketing strategy has a lot of potential and could use a little more push.

What Should You Do Now?

Should you express your opinion immediately? Should you approach him? When should you approach him? And when? It’s a tricky situation and you know it. At this point, you recognize that there are two options: (1) tell Tom that his proposal needs more work and do it in the most professional and non-offensive way, or (2) just forget about giving an honest feedback altogether.

Say It or Leave It?

There are many ways to address situations like these. But when it comes to coming up with a decision on whether you should give your honest opinion on a work-related matter, there are a couple of things you need to consider.

Say It

Communication is the key to collaboration. People need to talk in order to effectively work together. Communication is needed for people to get a common understanding of why they do what they do at work. But sometimes, the problem is in communication itself.

In an effort to make the other person understand our ideas and thoughts, we forget to follow the necessary steps to effectively communicate. We skip the pleasantries and jump right on to what we think needs to be done or changed. This leaves a big room for miscommunication and misunderstandings.

Leave It

This is the easy way out—basically by avoiding the issue. Not stating your thoughts make things easier as it doesn’t open discourse. It doesn’t make room for the sharing of ideas so there’s no room for arguments.

At first glance, it seems like a good strategy to avoid conflict. You keep your thoughts to yourself so it’s impossible to have disagreements as there’s nothing to disagree about. But on the flipside, it makes a big room for mistakes and mishaps in the long run because of the lack of shared understanding.

The Common Ground

Finding the common ground between voicing your opinion or not is tricky. It’s even trickier in the workplace where you need to strike the balance between the two as it could be attributed to your work ethics and professionalism?

So What’s the Solution to This Icky Tricky Situation?

Find a common ground. Mix being opinionated with being polite. In the case of whether to tell Tom about his marketing strategy, there are many ways to tell him how he can make his strategy better. If the situation presents itself, voice out your opinion during the meeting. Be objective in stating the potential weak points of the strategy and give recommendations on how it can be made better.

This is just one of the many different ways on how you can marry perspective and proper communication to improve your personal and professional life and create good relationships. Development coaching is one good way to start.

Aside from coaching, you can also create better relationships through meditation, journaling, and other self-developing practices. It is possible to be opinionated and open about your thoughts and opinions without being offensive. Just remember to be objective about your opinions but also be sensitive to other people’s ideas and feelings.