An expert in communication, Dorota has over 16 years’ experience in Higher Education and is a devoted academic with a passion for empowering students.
I am a linguist with focus on communication (rhetoric, persuasion, and relativity in language), as well as a court-appointed mediator in labour, civil, and family cases; an expert in conflict resolution, working with individuals of diverse backgrounds and cultures. I am a co-managing director at Eurasian Doctoral Student Academy (EDSA), president of the Polish MEDIATOR Association, and a researcher. I’m also a member of a nationwide female expert database in Poland which promotes the presence of women in the public debate.
In organisations, we map the reality of our everyday world. Once we understand that culture is an ever-changing process of constructing reality, it becomes easier to relate to the processes by which systems of shared meanings are created within an organisation. The nature of a culture (including the culture of a company) is hidden in its norms and mores, and the construction of an appropriate social reality consists of adapting to these rules of behaviour. Organisational culture develops a kind of ethos, and managers play an essential role in the process of shaping the values.
In any organisation, departmentalising by creating silos chokes the flow of information and impairs communication, inhibiting collaboration vertically and horizontally. Amassing power into only a few hands can easily lead to abuse of power, which often results in numerous harmful outcomes, both for the employees and the organisation itself. Transparency is the cornerstone of a healthy organisation for the individuals engaged in that entity, as well as the organisations’ longevity itself, besides also being a fundamental principle of good leadership. I take it seriously to point out to people that we need to pay attention and be careful of safeguarding a transparent, honest, and sincere environment for the benefit of the people who comprise that organisation. What I have observed so far during mediation sessions, is that those who withhold information as a power tool, do so most often due to their fear and insecurities of losing power.
In many cases it is regarded that omitting information is a legitimate strategy of conflict resolution, but if we consciously decide to withdraw from the communication process in order to gain some advantage over a person or make him or her commit a mistake, we risk destabilisation of an organisation. As the old adage goes, information is power.
One of the reasons behind intentionally creating silos is the lack of efficient and tailor-made training and support for both leaders and followers. An efficient compliance program in a company includes training, education, proficient communication skills, and corrective action. Very often people do want to communicate, but they do not have sufficient tools or awareness of how to do that, hence a good compliance program and specialised training.
Experience shows that once communication becomes an issue, it is already too late. In other words, one ought to tackle the situation the moment that the conflict presents itself. Communication problems come in layers; the problem that an individual wants to address at early resolution process or mediation, appears to be of lesser importance than the real issue, which usually comes up during the meeting. Conflict resolution is fundamentally important to address in the workplace because it affects the overall operation of the company. In the worst scenario possible, companies ignore complaints of numerous employees, and those employees end up leaving and ruining the company’s reputation, among other negative side-effects.
A strong compliance program in a company can help, but it is suggested that CEOs receive the necessary support and guidance. It is very important to note that few companies have programs that would allow managers to counsel or refer to outside help. The higher the position, the fewer experts there are capable of assisting, and CEOs also feel the pressure to solve all the problems themselves. Additionally, a system of HR or compliance can help employees in the case of problems that they have, even within their own department, and smooth out communication issues.
First of all, there is so much value in the exchange of ideas and knowledge and insights given by HR representatives. The entire tenet of communication is a two-way street: it is not only what the speakers share, but it is equally important what HR experts find the most current pressing issues. Organisations like StreetHR are absolutely pivotal and indispensable for directing the trend in a deficit-reduction strategy of materialising a better working environment for both leaders and followers. The real change is from bottom to top—true grass-roots organisations and initiatives taken by individuals who truly care and believe in a better working environment.