Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation where you are best served by silence. Other times silence will be your enemy.
In a dynamic workplace with fluid staffing, silence will rarely meet your needs.
Looking for more impactful input in the conversations with my leader and my peers, I picked up Harvard Business Review’s Giving Effective Feedback from their 20 Minute Manager series to act as a quick reference guide to round out some of my communication skills. Many of these conversations have needed to include feedback – the kind focused on the need for improvement and adaptation to difficult, fast-paced situations.
The elements I found most useful, were the tips on how to receive feedback in return, and how to ensure you’re cultivating a conversation where you’ve both found common ground.
In my case, these conversatons often involve people with differing individual needs who have the same (or at least similar) end goal. The difficulty isn’t the goal, it’s creating the roadmap needed for everyone to reach the goal together. These are conversations involving competing or contradictory needs, which put people in a position where opinions will be strong, and not everyone can get everything they want.
I’ve found it’s important to remember that shared goal rather than focusing on the hurdles. It’s okay to start a conversation with a problem and no solution – as long as you are working together to focus on the solution rather than getting stuck in giving the problem all of your combined attention.
The information in this book isn’t new or revolutionary, but it’s a good touchstone for the impact my conversations are having. I’d recommend it to anyone in a similar situation. If you’re looking for something more, the back of the book lists a number of additional helpful resources.
Giving Effective Feedback breaks down impactful ways to provide feedback to direct reports, peers, and superiors in a format which improves the chance that it will be heard and used. It addresses follow up, and discusses ways to discuss feedback in situations where it might not be openly accepted. It’s a fast read and easy to navigate for reference. The Learn More section at the back of the book turns this quick refernece piece into a jumping off point for diggin in to work on these skills.