Welcome back to part two of this series on communication to create change!
Last week we dove into some common pitfalls that many of us fall into when trying to say our piece. Whether it’s becoming overly emotional or not being super clear on what the issue actually is, we have all had the experience of leaving a conversation with our supervisor or team lead and feeling like we could have done better.
If you haven’t seen last week’s post I highly recommend that you check it here.
Ok, now onto the good stuff!
This week I am going to lay out seven steps that I have found highly effective for communicating to collaboratively create change.
Step 1: Get on the Calendar
-Avoid an on the fly conversation in the hallway or therapy gym.
-Scheduling a time to meet with your supervisor assures that you have their undivided attention and gives you the best opportunity to discuss the issue at hand in an efficient and effective manner.
Step 2: Be Specific
-Your boss cannot read your mind. If you are unable to clearly articulate specifically what the problem is in a clear, concise, and rational way chances are you are going to be disappointed by the outcome of the conversation.
-If you are having a hard time choosing one specific issue to address (I know, there are so many issues and that are driving you nuts!) try utilizing a tool such as the Impact Effort Matrix to help you narrow it down.
Step 3: Communicate in Advance
-Communicate to your supervisor the issue (as you have clearly defined it) in advance, preferably in writing. This ensures that you are clear about the purpose of your conversation and can spend your time considering solutions vs. explaining your concerns.
Step 4: Summarize Concerns
-Meeting day has arrived, spend a few minutes briefly summarizing that which you have already clearly communicated in writing and ensure that your supervisor clearly understands the problem as you see it.
-Practice this summary on a trusted friend, spouse or co-worker prior to the actual meeting. The goal is to be rational and clear vs. reactive and emotional.
Step 5: Brainstorm Solutions
-Utilize your meeting time to collaboratively brainstorm solutions to the problem that you have identified. Make sure that you bring some solid ideas to the table and encourage your supervisor to add his or her ideas to the mix.
-Be sure to write them all down so that you can follow up!
6: Determine a Timeline
-Prior to walking out of that office determine a timeline in which a decision will be made to ensure that your conversation doesn’t get lost in your supervisor’s sea of stuff
-Ask for specific dates or number of days/weeks and be clear that you will be following up in that timeframe if you have not heard from them.
Step 7: Follow Up
-Immediately after meeting, send a follow up email that thanks them for meeting with you, includes all of the ideas that you brainstormed and reiterates the timeline in which you expect a response
-If you do not hear back within the agreed upon amount of time, follow up again. Ignoring you (and the problem) does not count as a solution!
So there you have it.
Remember, you are an invaluable asset to your team and to your organization. Making your voice heard can be hard work, but saying nothing is a disservice to yourself and to the patients that you serve.
As always, I’m right here with you! Working to create change one day at a time.
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