Telling Colleagues What You Really Think

Telling Colleagues What You Really Think

Employees aren’t often honest with each other. Most wouldn’t dare give feedback to their bosses. I know because I’ve been there and maybe, you have too.

Looking back, I realize why we hold back from discussing hard truths. We dislike offending or hurting others’ feelings. We also fear “retaliation” from others, especially superiors.

But there are ways of being truthful and avoiding all the problems that may arise. First, you need to change your mindset and approach. Here are some tips that can help you.

1.     Determine if being honest will be constructive

Telling Colleagues What You Really Think
Photo: Freepik

Before you point out a colleague’s flaws, ask yourself – are you doing so to help the other person improve? Also, are you trying to stop a person from committing self-destructive behaviors?

Many like to find fault in others to belittle them. Make sure you want to help the other person.

2.     Put it in writing

Typing and re-typing is so easy on a PC / Laptop. You can review your piece several times before sending it to your colleague. Now, you would ask why not in person. Things could quickly get out of hand during a conversation. Tempers could flare up and you could say hurtful words.

There’s also the issue of timing. You might catch your colleague at the wrong time.
A written piece is beneficial to your recipients. At first, they might be upset. But, given time, they may realize you may have a point.

Later on, if your colleague desires, you can discuss what you wrote them.

Photo: Freepik

3.     Empathize

What would your reaction be if you were the recipient of your letter/memo? Do you see it as an attempt to help you become better?

There was a time when I didn’t particularly appreciate being told of what I was doing wrong. But, I met people who could give feedback without being offensive.

Their secret is empathy. They put themselves in my shoes and knew how to communicate with me.

4.     Remember to mention the other person’s strengths

Tell your colleagues what they’re doing great. Let them know that you recognize their contributions to the organization. If they’re well-liked, admired or respected, remember to mention it.

5.     Offer Solutions

You only present a problem with a possible fix. Often, your colleagues will have ideas on how to solve them. But even though they have a solution, yours might be better. Lastly, remember to offer help or further discussion.

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