Unhappiness in the workplace can fester and turn into frustration if not addressed. Frustration compounds and contaminates, often creating a toxic environment. It fuels negativity, criticism and judgment that create defensiveness and distance among employees. Worker and customer relationships may erode, sapping productivity and progress.

All too often, the “open door” policy in business is a misnomer; systems and decision-making are not truly open. When managers ask, “Do you have everything you need?” they often don’t actually listen to the answer.

Effective communication begins with an accurate understanding of the issues and their impact. Digging deeper to discover the essence of the real problem requires work. The ability and willingness to listen well promotes trust.

Once the problem is identified, change requires commitment. Without the will to act, nothing happens. When the right problem is not addressed, the inevitable unhappiness and frustration lead to pessimism that demoralizes workers.

The remedy is not easy but it’s quite simple — address the unhappiness, don’t ignore it. Change the situation or system if possible. At the very least, talk about the problem.

Transparency demonstrates respect and promotes collaboration. Engaged as partners in the solution, employees develop loyalty to management and to the enterprise.

Tips for Success

If you are not getting positive results from your communication, you are probably not doing it right. Create a framework for managing a problem successfully. Establish a specific goal, develop a strategy to achieve optimum results, and acquire the skills and tactics needed to negotiate. Be sure that you know what the real problem is and talk about it with all those involved. Keep at it and morale is bound to improve.