Our CEO & Founder, Emily, was the first to order How To Say Anything To Anyone by Shari Harley after a painful experience with a team member. This team member had been starting to feel pushed out of the organization due to being shuffled around. The truth of the matter was that she was difficult to work with. We were attempting to find the right position for her in order to keep her on board without continuing to ruffle the feathers of other team members. Unfortunately, the communication was not there and we lost her altogether. With this experience, it became apparent that our management team needed to learn how to say anything to anyone and avoid miscommunications and poor team leadership in the future. Alas, after Emily got partway through the book, multiple copies were ordered for the rest of the team!
If you’ve ever struggled to talk about hard things with a team member, you’re going to want to read this one.
How To Say Anything To Anyone Takeaways
- In the absence of candor, people are left to make assumptions about what really happened. In the example of the team member above, we could have avoided many hard feelings by being upfront about the situation.
- Staying quiet damages relationships. Speak up candidly and avoid writing someone off to avoid an issue; this usually leads to damaged relationships.
- Being candid is not being negative. It is stating expectations, making the commitment to talk about things as they happen, and asking what others think of your performance. Candor in the workplace creates better relationships in which all parties can speak openly without concern.
- People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Asking for input & feedback from your team is one of the keys to having productive and satisfied employees.
- There are two purposes for providing feedback: to change behavior or replicate it. Check your intentions before opening your mouth. Ask yourself if what you want to say is intended to replicate or change behavior. If neither, it is not valuable feedback and should not be said unless asked for your opinion.
Communication is Key
- Establish expectations in anything new – a meeting, a relationship, a project. Having set expectations makes it easier to address frustrating behaviors when they happen. We recently asked our team to start turning their cameras on during meetings due to low engagement. It was clear that not everyone was at their desk, fully present during team meetings. When we implemented this new rule, there was a lot of grumbling because the expectation was not set from the get-go. If some ground rules had been set beforehand, we could have more easily addressed the issues as they came up.
- Take time to ask people about their work style preferences. How do they like to communicate? Are they a morning or night person? Do they prefer setting appointments or dropping in for a chat? What are their pet peeves? How will you know when they are frustrated? All of these are important questions to ask and understand about the people you work with.
- If you have a boss, take initiative to manage the relationship. Ask for feedback. Understand your boss’s communication preferences and expectations. Your job is to make your boss look good. If you do so, they are your conduit to more interesting work, pay raises, and advancement.
- Check-in regularly on your relationships. What’s working or not working? What are their challenges? How can you make each other’s lives easier?
Questions to Ask Your Team
- What are three things that will keep you with the organization?
- What’s one thing that would make you leave?
- What do you enjoy doing the most?
- Are there any skills you would like to develop?
- What is something you want to do that you have never had a chance to?
- What do you enjoy doing the most?
- How do you like to receive recognition publicly or privately?
- What would you like to be doing in one year? 3 years?
- Why did you accept this job? What are you hoping it will provide?
- What are your concerns?
- How will I know when you’re frustrated and need support?
- What do you want to know about me?
- What do you want me to know about you?
The Formula For Providing Feedback
- Introduce the conversation by asking for a few minutes to talk.
- State your motive.
- Describe the observed behavior.
- Share the impact or result of the behavior.
- Have some dialogue, and ask the recipient for his perception of the situation.
- Make a suggestion a request for what you’d like the person to do next time.
- Build an agreement on next steps.
- Say thank you.