There’s been a bit of a theme in the team coaching and 1-1 work I’ve been doing this last couple of months and I wanted to share it with you.
It’s this – we say we want people to contribute, to share ideas, to challenge our thinking – and yet we do just about everything to stop this from happening. Quite unintentionally, of course.
Here’s a couple of recent examples:
Employee – ‘I think we need to do some work on helping people understand our values a bit more and what they look like in practice’.
Boss – ‘I disagree’.
Same boss gets frustrated that her team ‘don’t innovate as much as they should’ and ‘don’t seem to have the creative ideas she is expecting from them’.
‘Better’ response?’ I’d like to hear your thoughts on how we do that’/’that’s interesting, I thought everyone was really clear – so tell me more’.
That opens up a dialogue.
Here’s a second example:
Employee – ‘I feel like I can’t get my voice heard in the team meeting. I try to speak but get drowned out by the louder voices. I’d like to talk to you about that.’
Boss – ‘I’ll give you an agenda topic to work with so you can lead on that, okay?’
Employee (thought bubble) ‘that’s not going to help at all – why is he making that assumption?’
‘Better’ response? ‘Thanks for bringing that up! What would you like to do to change that – and how can I help?’
We close people down because we’re in a hurry, think we know the answer, assume what the other person means and so on and so on. We don’t have our ‘listening ears’ very highly attuned.
Now sometimes of course we legitimately need to close people down – but in the above two examples it was unintentional and had negative consequences.
As two of my male clients said quite separately this month (I swear I’m not making this up) ‘My wife always says to me she doesn’t want me to fix it she just wants me to listen’.
Just a thought……