As a leader in your organization, the quality of conversations you have predicts both employee engagement and team productivity. Want better results? Then spend time and energy creating better conversations with your employees.
Say LESS of these:
- I expected a lot more from you.
- Yes, but…
- I don’t want to hear it.
- How many times do I need to tell you?
- Just do as you’re told.
- Who’s responsible for this mess?
Say MORE of these:
- I believe in you!
- Yes, and what else is on your mind…
- What insights do you want to share?
- Let’s talk about what’s getting in your way…
- Help me understand what you were thinking.
- How would you approach this?
When you reflect on leaders you’ve had, how do they guide the conversation? Is it with the first set or the second set? Quality conversations require the second set. I’m working with a leader right now, Rob, who is in a really tough spot in an organization – an organization that uses the first set of responses much too frequently. Someone makes a mistake in a meeting? You hear “I expected a lot more from you”. Someone launches a new idea? You hear “Yes, but…..”.
Rob is trying to slip in some of the more positive statements. He keeps a calendar reminder that goes off at noon and asks him how many of the above positive things he’s said. He finds himself gravitating to a few again and again. “How would you approach this?” is an easy one for him. And he loves the “Let’s talk about what’s getting in your way….” because he sees his job as removing obstacles for his direct reports.