What do you do when you feel you are not “being heard” at work?

First you analyse. Why do you feel you are not heard? Are there not enough opportunities for you to share or express your ideas? Or are you being “shut down” every time you say something? Could you be the problem itself? Is it your communication style? Or are you not comfortable speaking at all?

Once you know the potential causes as to why you feel you are not heard, it is perhaps a good time to seek help to resolve this issue.

Second, you document. It is always good to keep a record of anything you feel as situations where you felt there was something that made you feel you were not listened to or heard. This is part of your preparation in the event you have to provide evidence or whether you need to just keep a notes of the details of the interaction.

Third, seek help. There are different ways to do this. One is to talk to a good friend, colleague or confidante that you really trust to be able to listen to you and be non-judgemental. Often you just need a listening ear without soliciting for advice. Although you can use this same person to offer you advice or tips on how to resolve your problem. It could also be a person who is not knowledgeable about your work, and can look at your situation in a very distant, and objective manner.

A second way is to approach your manager, and request for a time to chat about your issues. In setting up this meeting, be ready with a list of scenarios or situation you felt you were not able to contribute to a conversation, a meeting, or were not given a chance to say something. Or if it is a complaint or an issue you wanting to resolve for quite some time but have not been able, to, you need to be able to demonstrate on how many and which occasions this had happened. Allow your manager/team leader or supervisor an opportunity to respond to your concerns, issues and listen to their point of view. The manager can also offer you feedback about your communication style.

If your issues are not resolved at the manager/team leader or supervisor level, you might want to consider bringing in your Health and Wellbeing Officer (Workplace, Health and Safety Person), or a representative from your Human Resources Department to assist.

A third potential strategy is to engage in collaborative work as situations like this can encourage contributions from the members of the team.

Another strategy is to join support groups or networks whose purpose is to assist individuals to improve their mental health and physical well-being. There are private practices that do this, or through community groups or programs available through Council or specific organisations. There is also a service called Employee Assistance Program (in Australia, but there could be an equivalent service in other countries) that you can ring and talk to for free.Another variation of support network or groups, is for you to create your own group with people who share your passion, ideas or interests, where you can feel very safe about contributing.

Finally, you might want to consider talking to a medical practitioner as your “feelings” and “anxiety” over this matter could be manifestations of burn out, fatigue, stress or something else that may need looking into. It could also be just a hearing issue in itself.

The important thing is do not let this matter become unattended as this will affect your emotional, and mental well-being. You need to look after yourself.