Too often managers, mentors and colleagues sound very much like parents talking to children. When you want them do something differently you tell them a story about yourself. In the business world feedback may sound like this:
“You should have done “X” because that is how I would do it” or “Back in the day this is how we did things.”
This self-centered approach to giving feedback has the same effect as when parents tell their children “when I was your age.” People shut down. They hear nothing that is said after that. The reason is that they are feeling like a victim as their self esteem is being attacked. No one likes to feel like they are a bad person, that they are less than anyone else, or to be spoken to like someone who thinks they are better than anyone else. These are all feelings that generate when conversations begin from a self-centered frame of mind.
If you want someone to do, think or act differently it is important to approach them from their perspective. You need to ask questions instead of give directions. Help people think through their solutions rather than think for them. This may take a little longer and require you to be creative but the results will be much better.
Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please or contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or firstname.lastname@example.org.