Honesty and feedback III

There is an opportunity for someone at the end of this week’s note – read to the end so you don’t miss out. This is probably my final message on this topic for a while. I am having lots of questions and discussions about how to have honest conversations. So, this week, I thought I would give some practical tips.

How to have honest conversations:

  1. Prepare – This is critical. Make notes about what you want to say. Make sure you think about specific examples. Ideally, these should not be based on something that happened 5 years ago. The more recent, the better.
  2. Set the time – Make sure that enough time is put aside. Also agree on an appropriate venue so that you won’t be interrupted.
  3. Have the discussion – Make it factual and stick with it. Be careful not to clam up and opt out at the last moment
  4. Don’t flinch – Giving a tough message isn’t easy. Your message will be diluted if you ‘dilly dally’ when giving it. Keep eye contact and speak confidently. Think Simon Cowell.
  5. Don’t worry about positive/negative/positive feedback. Research shows that human beings are more likely to remember bad news, over good. For example, we might have 6 successes; get bad news at 2.00pm and then another run of success in the afternoon. It is however more than likely that the bad news is what will occupy space in our mind. So, no need to be too concerned about sandwiching good news or praise in the middle.
  6. Get back to business – Don’t let the honest conversation get in the way of your ongoing relationship. Put it behind you and move on. The Level 5 leaders in Jim Collins research know how to do this.

Good luck

Food for thought

I attended an event one evening last week. Whilst there, a woman told me about a tragic situation. Someone we both know has recently retired. She was looking forward to spending more time in Wales with her husband who had retired many years earlier.

Unfortunately her husband died 4 weeks after her retirement. Wait. It gets worse. I then learned that she is now looking after her daughter who had returned home recently. Her daughter had studied to be an accountant. After starting a new job she soon realised that accountancy wasn’t for her. After a year, she resigned, retrained to do something else and then joined a large organisation in the South of the country. She was bullied badly. After a year, she had a breakdown and now needs constant care. So, had to return home where her newly retired mum has taken over to give the support that dad was giving before he died. Part of the tragedy is probably that if the bullies had any idea of the real impact that they have had on their colleague, they would probably adjust their behaviour. There is obviously an economic imperative to building better relationships at work, but there is also a moral and corporate/social responsibility one too. Anyway, I hope this story does something to encourage you keep relationship building as one of your top priorities…

Yes, I know I haven’t said anything about the Royal Mail dispute. Perhaps I’ll touch on it briefly next week.