She wondered what to say

What do you say to a colleague whose approach is consistently determined, opinionated, and irritating the team?

Danielle was wondering how to handle this when team members let her know they were hesitant to bring it to their colleague’s attention for fear of the response.

As the senior leader on the team, Danielle felt compelled to address it. But she was concerned that telling her colleague what she’s doing that’s landing badly would not be accepted as constructive feedback.

I suggested instead of telling, Danielle could gain insight by asking questions. Knowing first what the colleague thinks would enable her to express feedback in a way more likely to be accepted and absorbed.

To get good responses, Danielle should ensure her tone of voice and body language are neutral, supportive, open. She could start with: You’re a dynamic part of this team:

-What do you want to be known for?
-What makes that important to you?
-What is your intent when you say or do ___?
-What impact do you think your approach might have on others?
-What would make working with this team more productive, more enjoyable, for you?
-What is something you’d like to do to work toward your vision of success?
-What might the team do to help you in your quest for success?

I encouraged her to use “Tell me more” as she listens, to encourage openness and possibly deeper reflection. It conveys her desire to understand.

Danielle was relieved. Replacing telling with questions could open up a dialog that may never happen otherwise.

These days, many of us feel like we’re on tenterhooks when talking with some colleagues and friends. I’ll share additional practical recommendations in upcoming messages.

If you’d like to read what I’ve written about “Tell me more,” check out “Three Powerful Words.”

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