Respecting the wishes and honouring the real needs of the other person in a conversation, can start to generate goodwill and foster enthusiasm needed for creative problem solving and productive business communication throughout your team.
By Peter O’Connor.
Any number of workplace problems can be caused by employee morale problems. Not being appreciated for their work or not getting along with a supervisor or direct manager can cause results to suffer. Getting to the root of this problem is sometimes a challenge. Very often, the only way to get at it is to ask your employees for the truth, to have open communication, that can be centred around the facts, but with a healthy dose of emotional attunement, as a manager.
This can be difficult for you and for them. especially, if you haven’t built trust with them in the past and they fundamentally don’t trust you or like you or feel you care less about them, as a person, as well as a performer in a job role.
You may gain valuable information about how to increase your employees' job satisfaction. On the other hand, you might learn that something you do is a source of problems with this person. An employee is faced with similar concerns. Will honest criticism result in retaliation, or should they keep silent, how should real feedback work?
Here is a Sample Employee Feedback Script to consider
This sample script suggests what to say to assure employees that their input is valued, and explores a variety of issues that might be of concern. It also offers options to use when a meeting doesn't go quite as planned. Here is one way to open the discussion:
“Thanks for coming to talk with me. I’d like to talk with you about employee morale. Before I can make this job as fulfilling and satisfying for you as possible, I need to know how you feel about things at the moment? How do you think your job could be made more fulfilling or what other steps we can take to make you feel satisfied in your job?
Now let the employee talk. Maintain eye contact, take good notes and occasionally nod or smile to let the employee know that you’re listening. If the employee doesn’t have much to say right off the bat, or seems hesitant to comment, you might say something like:
I’m really interested in what you have to say, and I don't want you to feel uncomfortable giving criticism, if that’s what’s necessary. I have broad shoulders. This isn’t a trap, and I’m not going to get angry or retaliate for any criticism you might make, as long as it isn’t personal against any colleagues. On our team we’re really on the same side. If you don’t mind, I’d like to go through some specific questions, and get your thoughts. Let me know if you’d rather not do this now. We can reschedule a time to meet or you can jot some thoughts down on paper if that is more comfortable for you.”
It might also be helpful if you also can feedback what you have heard, as in
“What I heard you say was x, y and z – is that correct” – before you ask more clarifying questions or respond in any way. People want to feel heard. There’s a reason we got two ears and one mouth, but many of us ignore that statistic willfully, as we are thinking too much about what WE want to say or how we will respond.
If the employee seems really uncomfortable or uninterested, you might choose to conclude the session now. However, if the employee seems to want to continue participating, you could then go through a list of clarifying questions or topics and ask the employee to comment about them.
Here are some topics that might get your discussion going:
Ask the employee to respond to each of these topics. You should be sure to take good notes.
After the discussion, sum up by saying:
I appreciate your taking the time to let me know how you feel. Your comments have been helpful, and I hope you’ll feel free to come and talk to me if you have questions, suggestions, or additional comments.
Let the employee know what to expect:
I plan to conduct some more meetings with other employees, After that, I’m going to look at all the information and try to figure out ways that we can change things to make your job even more fulfilling and rewarding. I hope to have some information back to you within two weeks that will tell you where we’ll go from here.
– Thanks again
This is just one example of a feedback session, to get you thinking about how you use a systematic approach to feedback and why people welcome feedback, if approached correctly.
Peter O’Connor is the MD, and a facilitator of leadership, management, teams, sales and service and change oriented programmes at Performance Partners. Peter provides development for managers who want to build a high impact performance management approach and to build productive conversations at review time and to give real feedback which people are open to.
See more management tips at https://www.performancepartners.ie/management-training-ireland/