Ahh, 2021. A year filled with stories of worker shortages. Oh, and COVID, supply chain issues, political strife, and a few other things, too. But by and large, I want to focus on workers. Not the shortage angle, but rather workers and how we talk to our coworkers. The reason? Iowa State University released the findings of a study that shows us just how to get ahead at work. It's simple: talk to your coworkers a certain way.

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ISU finds there's a right way to talk to coworkers if you want to get ahead at your job

While it should, I guess, seem obvious, the ISU study finds there's an easy way to get ahead at work and it's simple. Speak with a supportive tone. Or, as the study calls it specifically, a "supportive voice". Speaking like this trumps "challenging voice." So what exactly is a supportive vs. challenging voice? I bet you'll recognize people who use the challenging voice.

A challenging voice is one that you'd use to tell a coworker what they've done wrong, and tell them exactly how to fix it. Meanwhile, the supportive voice is similar in you're still telling them how to fix something, but you're going about it differently. You stay positive and explain what they're doing right before going into ways to fix whatever needs to be fixed.

The study still leaves room to use the challenging voice... sometimes

The study does mention the benefits of the challenging voice. For one, you'll appear more competent and capable. However, people will be less likely to want to work with you. In a perfect world, a good coworker will have the right mix of both. However, the study says air on the side of using the supportive voice more often than the challenging one.

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