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It's Not What You Say, It's The Way That You Say It

Aug 17, 2007
Sometimes in business there are constructive ways you can develop your people and ways of saying things that will only contribute to their decline.

How will you do it?

"OK, so what's happened? ... Well, yes you can do it that way. And let me show you a way that sometimes works well for us too"

"You did what - that's crazy. Why didn't you do it the way you were told? Don't you ever listen to what I say?"

Two approaches - pretty clearly eh?

If you were on the receiving end of these two acknowledgements of when something seems to have gone wrong, how would you feel about the relationship you have with your boss/manager etc?

Employees try their best - really - in the main they want to do a good job. They don't try to get things wrong - and yet sometimes they do.

That's life.

And we can beat them up for it - or we can understand and help them get over it.

The two approaches above are examples I've come across, in the last week, observing types of manager approach their people when things have gone wrong.

The first was from an excellent manager, who has her team with her, because she supports and encourages them when things don't work out quite right.

The second was from, admittedly, a less experienced manager, who was determined to make an example of his employee (so much so that she ended up in tears).

Employees are a hardy bunch. Frankly, they usually dust themselves down and get on with it.

And each time they are treated without respect it nibbles away at their self-confidence and helps them feel unworthy and useless.

It is not a nice thing to feel after you've done your days work. It impacts on their home life and the way they cope with the world.

Manager two was still embroiled in his own ego and inexperience. Showing his bullying capabilities from a position of power (and in the case mentioned, they were dealing with a very insecure member of their team - one they knew would not answer back).

The language we use as managers can be developmental or destructive - we have that onerous choice to make.

To build people's capabilities or crush them, through the way we speak and work with them. You, as their leader and manager, have a remarkable opportunity to change lives, by working with people to help them grow.

The alternative cannot be something that any reasonable human being would wish upon anyone.
About the Author
2005-6 Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, www.coaching-businesses-to-success.com
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