Speaking up and listening are the keys to stopping the silence in healthcare. Neither makes much sense by itself and each is essential for teaching the other! In other words listening to others promotes assertiveness and assertiveness promotes listening. To understand this better, ask yourself how feeling heard might impact your skill and safety in speaking up and how an assertive person might impact your listening. Or conversely, what you would do if you speak up and no one listens or if you listen and no one speaks up? What if these are chronic patterns?
Ask any leader who has tried to promote assertiveness in a culture where respectful listening isn’t practiced! Sure, some might speak louder and maybe even become aggressive, some may find someone else speak up to which may be passive-aggressive, some may shut down and stop speaking up all together, which may be passive or passive-aggressive. Add to this psychological safety and power dynamics and the elements of respectful and effective communication become quite interesting! If you are in a position of power such as a CNO, CMO, or CEO, you can have a huge influence on building assertiveness by listening! Actually, you’ll have a huge impact on assertiveness if you don’t listen, but it will more likely take shape in one of those previously mentioned ways!
I recommend that any efforts to promote assertiveness be accompanied by efforts to promote listening! And here are 7 ways you can Stop the Silence in Healthcare starting today!
1. Speak up with confidence about a concern you have regarding patient safety.
2. Listen respectfully to someone who expresses a concern about patient safety.
3. Speak up with confidence about a limitation you have that exhibits self-care.
4. Listen respectfully to someone who shares a limitation that exhibits self-care.
5. Speak up with confidence about an idea you have that would improve patient care and/or your work environment.
6. Listen respectfully to someone who shares an idea that would improve patient care and/or your work environment.
7. Join and share Mike Ackerman‘s Facebook Group called “Stop the Silence in Healthcare” This group is for everyone and is a growing force for positive change! I hope to see you there with your concerns, ideas, and limitations!