“It is one thing to be sometimes right and another thing to be always right”. You may be right, but you will not be right if you put it the wrong way. And, therefore, you will achieve the opposite of what you intend.
This statement is just as valid for an employee as it is for a manager. In fact, it is a basic communication principle that must be taken into account when making a criticism or requesting a change in behavior.
The importance of communication and, more specifically, responding efficiently is fundamental both in private life and in work. It depends on this that the person understands and can improve a behavior. Also, that he does not understand it and gets angry, even if he is not right. Responding and doing it well is more of a science than an art.
As Benjamin Franklin used to say: “Remember, it is not enough to say the right thing in the right place; it is still better to think about not saying the wrong thing at a tempting moment”.
For both employees and bosses, knowing how to say things properly will save us from many problems and misunderstandings. In fact, by following a series of small steps, we can greatly improve the efficiency of our communication. It is a communicative process that should be taken care of.
Also remember: “The one who knows how to think, but he does not know how to express what he thinks, he is on the same level as the one who does not know how to think”.
Let’s see the steps to follow:
1. The place
If we are going to talk to a person, we need to find a suitable place for it. You should never recriminate anyone in front of other colleagues, and much less clients. This directly damages the relationship between people, in addition to humiliating the partner, employee or boss. It is important to find a place where you will not be disturbed by anyone, being convenient to silence the phone and reserve that time to be with the person with whom you want to have efficient communication.
Preparing what you want to say and the approach to follow is decisive. Abraham Lincoln used to say: “Give me 6 hours to cut down a tree, and I will spend the first 4 hours sharpening the ax”.
2. The rule: 2 positive messages and 1 negative message
Rather than directly censoring the attitude, behavior or results of a job, it is worth starting by highlighting positive aspects of the person. For example: “Pablo, you have been working with us for 10 years and the company is delighted with you. You have led several projects with success and recognition, both from clients and from the company itself. However, in this last project the company has not been happy”. After giving positive feedback on their performance, we would focus on the attitude or behavior that we want to change.
3. Referring to facts, not judgments of intent
The attitude, the behavior that we want to change must be limited. In many discussions, generalizations are made, it is stereotyped: “you are always late”, “you do everything wrong”, “I do not like how you work”, etc…
Limiting the behavior implies referring to concrete facts. Instead of saying “you are always late”, it should indicate “on Monday you were 10 minutes late, on Tuesday the 15th and Thursday the 20th. Is that correct?” This way of approaching the problem, on concrete facts, avoids addressing the person in a global way. “You are always late” is wrong and leads to discussion and deterioration of conversation and personal relationships. However, stating exactly the wrong behavior is not a matter of discussion.
4. Do you have a problem that we can help you with?
We know the behavior, but we do not know the causes. Before venturing out, ask: “Have you had a problem?”, “Can we help you with something?” If it is conduct that has not occurred previously, there is likely reasonable cause. The employee must be given the opportunity to explain himself. One answer we can get is: “Yes, the person who takes the children to the nursery has failed us and I have had to take them those 3 days already solved”. It is important to listen to those who have developed the behavior that we want to correct before making any decision. It is better to wait and prevent than to anticipate and have to apologize.
5. Correcting the problem
Once the problem has been clarified, a change in behavior must be requested. And get him to commit to it. “If it is already solved, then it is perfect. In any case, I would appreciate it if a situation like this occurs again, please let me know right away. Do you agree?” If the answer is ‘yes’, we have the problem solved. If the problem is more serious, there are different options:
• A health problem for you or a close family member. You may be advised to apply for discharge until you recover.
• A separation or divorce. Take him away from the project he is in until he is better. If he needs it, request the withdrawal. If the company offers advisory services, they must be made available to them.
6. Closing the meeting
After agreeing on the solution, it is a good idea to close the meeting by making yourself available for any matter in which you need help. And your dedication and willingness to solve the problem is appreciated.
Many times we do not follow these simple steps, which are the key to success in interpersonal communication. Following these directions will help resolve the situation that concerns us, save us further trouble, and help us improve the quality of our communication. In this regard, Paul J. Meyer said: “Human communication is the key to personal and professional success”.