Blue Sky, Blue World: Talk is Cheap at Work
In the workplace, talk is often cheap. For real, for real. Promises and words without action hold little value and may lead to a lack of trust, decreased morale, disengagement with what’s going on, and host of side-effects. It’s essential for individuals and organizations to bridge the gap between talking and doing to foster a culture of action, collaboration, and success. Accountability will take care of itself if this happens. This article will dive into the importance of communication, effective expectation management, and the role of leadership in creating an environment where actions speak louder than words.
Yeah, well, this mad world made me crazy Might just turn around, do 180 I ain't politickin', I ain't kissin' no babies The devil on my doorstep bein' so shady Mmm, don't trip We don't gotta let him in, don't trip Yeah, yeah I let it go, but I never go with it Uh, yeah
Miller, Mac. “Blue World.” Accessed October 26, 2023. https://genius.com/Mac-miller-blue-world-lyrics
Yeah, a blue world cuts like a knife, but that’s reality. A knife is a sharp object. Talk is talk—if it habitually sounds like it’s blowing sunshine, it’s likely headed nowhere fast. It turns blue sky to pie in the sky. All that ideation and politickin’ are a chimera. But don’t trip as the song (and the hat) says. There’s no need to feed this monster with ping-ponging more ideas in the preening of our our work session persona. Here’s an idea: don’t show out in theory, show up in the work.
One: Communicate clearly and accurately
Clear communication is the foundation for a productive and harmonious working relationship. When messages are stated with clarity and honesty, misunderstandings and conflicts are minimized. Hallmarks are using clear and concise language, providing real-world context, and seeking clarification when needed. While this is talking, this breed of pointed communication is doing. It fosters a culture of open and transparent dialogue. Through direct communication, trust is built, collaboration is enabled, and a realness vibe is cultivated. Engagement and productivity go up when everyone is on the same page and working towards shared goals.
For example, imagine a project with lots of moving parts. If the project lead clearly communicates objectives, timelines, and expectations to each team member and in turn they’re honest about capabilities and capacity, the chances of misunderstandings are held in check. This clarity enables the team to work together efficiently, with everyone working to a purpose not a perception.
Two: Manage expectations
Effective expectation management is critical for maintaining everyone’s satisfaction, performance, and sanity. When expectations are not properly managed, we’ll find disappointment, decreased morale, and disengagement. Agreeing to realistic goals and providing regular feedback are key strategies for managing expectations at work, whether you are an employee, a freelancer, a boss… or some combination of these. Get your personal and organizational goals aligned and get to work without the baggage of worrying about what some one is thinking. You already know what happening by now.
Three: Promises are for keeps
Broken promises can wreck the work. Don’t get me wrong—everyone makes mistakes, life happens, etc. But when real commitments simply are not fulfilled, skepticism will creep and teamwork and collaboration are less desirable.Typically, if the communication upfront was indeed honest, the intentions will manifest. And if the honest dialogue continues throughout, most folk remain dream players. But if a promise is made and not fulfilled *and* it’s not proactively addressed, that’s a problem. The consequences of broken promises are detrimental to both individual and team morale.
What if you’re repeatedly promised a promotion or some infrastructure or policy reform, but there’s no follow through? Eventually, trust is lost even if intentions were good. Disappointment and disillusionment surface. If it were me I might feel undervalued, and I just might not put it in like I used to.
Four: Leaders gonna lead
Leaders (not necessarily leader-ship) play a crucial role in fostering a culture of action. Those who align their words and actions inspire trust and motivate others. Leading by example and supporting others in the work, not the talk encourage everyone. Effective leaders empower others’ ownership of their own action and create a culture of continual leveling up. Your grind is not a side-hustle. It’s part of who you are in everything you do.
For example, a leader who communicates a vision and goals and actively participates in implementation of said goals sets a powerful example for anyone watching. When leaders take action and demonstrate their commitment to achieving goals, it motivates everyone to do the same.
Conclusion: Run don’t walk (or talk)
At work, actions speak louder than words. Empty promises and frivolous talk without tangible results hold little value. Maybe even negative value. But this is not a teardown, it’s a call to action. Bad pun intended. To create a thriving and successful work environment, it is crucial to prioritize clear communication, effective expectation management, and action over promises. Follow through. All of these are examples of taking action and demonstrate commitment, integrity, and inspiration. By closing the gap between words and actions, organizations build trust, enhance collaboration, and achieve goals. Without a cloud in the sky.
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Bound creates connection through surfacing truths and building connection. A free 30-minute consultation provides everything we need to know to put together a plan for articulating your story in a way that is true to you and the promises you wish to make and keep with others. The ones that will help you forge deep relationships that serve the long term health of your endeavor.