Why employees should choose who they speak with to effect change

When voicing their opinions in the workplace, employees should consider if they are speaking with the most appropriate person.
By: | February 8, 2023

When employees feel empowered to speak up at work, both the organisation and employees benefit when improvements are made to the workplace. The caveat is, are employees speaking to the right person?

Does the listener have the authority and resources to effect change and do they have the know-how to make the change happen?

Some employees, said Ethan Burris, a Professor of Management at Texas McCombs University, make the mistake of speaking to someone who is not higher up in the hierarchy and therefore does not have the power or influence to initiate effective change.

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In a recent study he conducted, Burris recommended that employees direct their ideas to managers with the authority and resources to make changes. They should avoid speaking to peers who have lack the ability to fix underlying challenges, or at least choose the most competent colleagues who posses the knowledge and influence to help get ideas implemented.

Burris added, “Employees should think critically about whom they direct their voice to when they have an idea for change. Both the amount of authority a person has to drive change and their competence give a greater likelihood of implementing the ideas employees raise.”