A newly released study reveals using “supportive voice” in the workplace dramatically affects how work gets done and how teams come together.
Leaders and business experts often urge people to speak up at work. It’s crucial to bring up creative ideas or more efficient ways of working to help companies conquer any hurdles they might face and attain their goals.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Management, two different communication styles shape job reputations and impact the formation of teams tasked with completing short-term projects.
They found people who use a “supportive voice”, which builds cooperative relationships, have a higher chance of being recruited to a team than those who use a more task-oriented “challenging voice.”
A challenging voice offers new ways of viewing the status quo. It does, however, come with some downsides, such as perceived criticism and conflict. Challenging voices are seen as signs of an employee’s competency or expertise. Managers often value the quick responses they get from their team members because it helps them deal with any challenges quickly.
“Supportive voice is still about speaking up in the workplace, but it’s looking at what’s going well in the group or team. It might defend the status quo by saying there’s value in what the team is already doing,” said Melissa Chamberlin, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at Iowa State University and co-author of this paper.
A supportive voice indicates someone’s approachability and integrity. It promotes meaningful interpersonal bonds, which sways a team’s capability to interact and organize efforts to reach goals.
“Because challenging voice is the predominant form of speaking up we encourage in classrooms and as managers, we thought it was going to be strong driver of people selecting team members later. But as it turns out, this more supportive voice that helps establish relationships and a sense of trust amongst individuals in the group was more important,” Chamberlin said.
As the researchers mentioned, having both types of voice would be ideal. However, a supportive voice is a more vital driver for team creation.