I am increasingly distressed by the tunnels of \u201cDilbertesque\u201d cubicles which shape the modern workplace. In theory these offices were designed to facilitate communication and enhance teamwork. But are they working? Employees rarely leave their stations. Emails and voice mails are the unwritten code of conduct. Face-to-face communication is rare. Meetings to share or brainstorm solutions have all but disappeared. Employees work diligently, receiving little feedback about their performance. Recognition of achievements is rare. People hesitate to express their opinions, never mind their feelings. When I ask clients why they don\u2019t speak up, I am told they are afraid or that it won\u2019t matter. I witness managers and employees speaking in muted shades of truth; people saying one thing and meaning something very different, lacking the courage to voice what is really on their minds. The result of this failure to communicate is significant: the breakdown of teamwork, performance issues, high employee turnover, the loss of the joy and fun once associated with work, and spiraling stress-related leaves. We have forgotten that communication is what builds workplace community and spirit; that communication keeps all of us connected to what we do and why we do it. All of this impacts organizational productivity and the bottom line. This is the painting of spiritual poverty I see emerging in our modern-day workplace. It concerns me. Work is an essential ingredient of a purposeful life\u2014of making a contribution. The solutions to building spirited organizations lie within each of us. They spring from simple ingredients\u2014mutual respect, integrity and community building, and small actions. SPEAK UP Start by speaking up. Diplomacy has its place but don\u2019t let this interfere with saying what you really want to say. Say what needs to be said. Speak from your heart. MEET PEOPLE FACE-TO-FACE People need human contact; choose to close the distance. Engage others in dialogue. Look into peoples\u2019 eyes. See them. LISTEN Hear what others are saying, both the spoken and the unspoken. The spoken word represents only 7% of any oral communication. Listen for tone and observe body language and facial expressions. BE PRESENT Turn off the mental chatter. Avoid tuning out when others are speaking, lost in your own thoughts or perhaps formulating your response. ASK QUESTIONS Questions are a critical dialogue tool. Questions allow you to check out your perception of a situation and clarify it before jumping to conclusions. Make sure you understand what the other person means. Paraphrase or ask for more details to ensure a shared understanding of any issue. TELL THE TRUTH There are two ways in which truth is withheld: by commission and by omission. Commission means you say what you believe others want to hear, or you are blatantly dishonest. Omission means withholding information such as the necessary details of a given situation. Telling the truth does not mean being brutal; it means being clear, honest, kind and forthright. A lack of truth telling feeds the rumour mill and erodes trust among managers and employees. In the end, this serves no one. BE KIND This seems to be a lost art form in today\u2019s workplace. Find reasons to complement others on their performance. Tell your colleagues what you see and the difference they make for others. Be genuine in your praise. IMPLEMENT \u201cTALKING STICK\u201d INITIATIVES People benefit from opportunities to gather to hear one another\u2019s stories and to be heard. It provides the space for sharing stories, successes and challenges that builds corporate culture and wisdom. In Lance Secretan\u2019s landmark book, Reclaiming Higher Ground, he states, \u201cHigh tech-high touch works best when we use more \u2018touch\u2019 and learn to use the \u2018tech\u2019 more effectively.\u201d Today\u2019s workplace is complex. It has been inundated by technology. It is undoubtedly challenging. As organizational leaders and managers, this is a call for each of you to step-up, and to bring the humanness back into your workplace. Decide to speak up, listen with the intent of understanding, ask clarifying questions, tell truth and foster shared understanding among your colleagues. If you do not lead the way by modeling effective communication and dialogue skills, who will?