Hidden Conversations At The Workplace

Are there hidden conversations at the workplace that you’re not aware of?

As a boss, do you sometimes wish you know what your employees are thinking about?

You may think that you have created an open and trusting environment for everyone to share their thoughts and opinions. You may even think that you have a great relationship with your employees that they can tell you anything.

Perhaps you have.

But there are just some things that your employees can’t share with you.

I’m not a mind reader, but I am an employee. So perhaps I can shed some light on some of the things that we are not telling you bosses out there. Even though we really want to.

Here are 5 things that many employees are not telling you.

They are the hidden conversations at the workplace that nobody talks about, unless you’re part of the conversation, or you deep dive into finding out exactly what they are.

I’m sure there are many more but let’s talk about the common ones:

1.I have the bandwidth to do more

This is something that many of us feel but we’re afraid to say. We’re afraid to say it because we’re afraid it might back fire on us.

We are afraid that if we were to ask for more than our given responsibilities, the job might be too difficult or challenging for us to handle. If we can’t complete the job or do it well then it might affect our overall work performance.



There are also times where bosses expect us to be more pro-active and work beyond our given job scope but job availability might be limited.

If we offer to help our colleagues, there’s always a perception of us being intrusive in their work which might create friction among the team.

As a boss, it is important to ensure your employees are always engaged in the work that they do. We need to ensure that the work that we are doing are value adding to the organization and that we are constantly productive.


Helping others with their weaknesses, through tools like the StrengthsFinder Assessment helps to reduce unnecessary Hidden Conversations at the workplace

2.You are weak in this area and I can help

This might be news to you but there are just some things that you’re not really good at.

You can’t possibly be good at everything.

This is something we are afraid of telling you because it might affect our bonus or promotion. It might even affect our relationship and that is something we are not willing to risk.

We want to offer our help in those areas that you are weak in, but we are afraid of overstepping our boundaries.

Allowing Others To Realise Their Fullest Potential Reduces Nasty Hidden Conversations at the workplace

When your employees are highlighting your weaknesses, it almost always comes with good intentions. We are simply trying to help you be a better and more effective leader.

And an effective leader must be aware of their strengths and their weakness.

In the areas of your strengths, your followers will look to you for guidance.

In the areas of your weaknesses, be courageously vulnerable and seek help from your employees.

Being open to feedback and criticism at the workplace helps to reduce nasty Hidden Conversations at the workplace

3. My ideas/solutions might be better than yours

Many bosses have the tendency to want to be right.

If a solution or a decision is wrong, you might feel incompetent as a leader.

You want to make the final decision and you might think that you have the best solution given your position and experience. But you might not be right all the time.

Sometimes, we do feel that our solutions are better. We’re on the ground most of the time. We’re the ones talking to clients, we work with the process and we’re the ones who handle the products.

We do have solutions and ideas to make things better for you and for ourselves.

So, give us the chance and trust us.

Let us make some decisions and give us the time and opportunity to present our ideas.

4.Your passion is not necessarily my passion

This mostly applies to bosses who are entrepreneurs.

It’s great that you have found your passion and you’re letting us be a part of that dream and journey.

You might think that because we are working for your company, our passions are exactly aligned. Truth is they aren’t. Sure, we might be aiming for the same end goal, but our passions might come from totally different angles.

We are willing to work hard to achieve that goal and make the organization successful. However, there has to be a balance.

It is important to understand that work life balance is important to us. We too have other passions that we want to fulfil after working hours. Give us the space and time for us to explore and discover what you have found for yourself.

Having work-life balance will lead to majority of the employees being engaged in the job that we do. When employees are engaged, retention rate improves, productivity increases which in turns results in profits for the organization.

5.I’m going for interviews

Don’t you wish that your employees will let you know that they’re leaving the organization?

That way, you can at least try to stop them from leaving.

Yet, most hidden conversations at the workplace revolve around people being poached by headhunters, and talking about “how much they could earn elsewhere.”

Most of the time, when you do find out it is probably too late.

You will just receive that dreaded letter of resignation and you are left to ponder what went wrong.

Well guess what? According to Gallup polls, 75% of people who do decide to leave their companies do so not because of their job, but because of bad bosses.

This gives us all the more reason to create open conversations to effectively solve ongoing issues in the workplace.

So How Can We Prevent These Hidden Conversations At The Workplace From Happening?

Meeting the needs of your employees is crucial if you want to retain them. According to Gallup’s research, every employee has 4 needs that must be met to ensure that your employees are happy and engaged in the job that they do.   

The 4 needs are: Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope.

How do you build trust with them, how do you show compassion for them, how do you build an environment of stability and how do you inspire hope such that they can look forward to the future.

Have regular check ins with your employees to ensure that their needs are being met.

Well so that’s it. You’ve heard it first hand from an actual employee about what goes through our minds.

Now that you know what they are thinking about, how do you ensure that your employees are satisfied and that they are given the opportunity to be at their very best in the work that they do? How do you ensure that their contributions are value adding to the organization?

Being aware of your employees’ needs is key to ensure that they are engaged in the work that they do.  


We hope that this article has been as enlightening for you as it has been for us!

Many a times, there exists hidden conversations at the workplace that most employers are not even aware of, until they attend one of our seminars.

If you find this article to be useful, you might want to download the FREE guide down below to learn in even greater detail on how to uncover hidden conversations at the workplace, and more.

Dina is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach at StrengthsAsia. She is one of the principal architect and designer of StrengthsAsia’s wildly successful Strengths Engagement Programs. She is passionate about bringing strengths to the education sector, in helping educators and student leaders discover their natural talents, passions, interests, and building ‘strong’ foundations to do what they do best every day.

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