Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

One Tip on How to Get Your Motivation Message Across

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You probably spend a great deal of your time communicating with other people.

It could be your customers, your colleagues, your boss, and the people in your personal life.businesswoman leading presentation while audience cheers.

So the tip is – use your feelings to get your message across to other people.

Are you listening to me?

Do you ever get the impression that people are not really listening to you or understanding what you’re saying? It doesn’t matter if it’s face to face or in a more formal speech or presentation.

Most people are not particularly good listeners. They are easily distracted and interrupted by other stuff going on in their brain.

They might be:

  • Tired,
  • In a hurry,
  • Confused,
  • Physically uncomfortable,
  • Don’t understand your jargon
  • Maybe just thinking about what they will say next.

So if you want to get your motivation message across, then it’s important to take into account all of these points. And it’s also important to ensure you are making the best of your speaking skills.

It’s all about the body

The problem is that the words you use, although essential, can be contradicted by your tone of voice and your body language.

Many people are now familiar with the results of research conducted by Dr Albert Mehrabian. This

This tells us that the impact of a message is dependent 7% on the words we use, 38% tone and a whacking great 55% body language.

I’ve read articles that take issue with these figures, suggesting that words are more important and have a much greater impact than Dr Mehrabian suggests.

I wouldn’t be prepared to put any figures on these three aspects of communication, however:

I am totally convinced that, to get your message across, how you look, and how you sound, are far more important than what you say.

It was so exciting – not

Recently I conducted a one to one training session in selling and presentation skills for a director of a small computer software company. A video camera was used to record this director’s sale pitch to a potential customer, a role played by me.

When I replayed this recording, my director client was horrified to watch his presentation. In his pitch he used words such as, ‘Young exciting company – staff with lots of enthusiasm for their product – lots of  motivation, energy and passion for what they are doing.’

The only thing was that he, the person in the video, had about as much excitement, enthusiasm, energy and passion as a plate of cold porridge.

He was saying the words but they just weren’t convincing. He was dull monotone and boring, and he knew it.

The good thing was, that once he’d realised it, he could do something about it.

Don’t be shy

On occasion, people say to me. ‘I am as I am; I’m a quieter sort of person. I can’t leap up and down and get excited about something even though I feel it inside.’

My answer to these people is, ‘Don’t change your personality, but do make a slight change to your behaviour.

Turn up the energy a little bit, put a bit more power in the enthusiasm, and warm up the passion just a tad more.

If you were to ask these same people about their football team, their children, or their hobby, then just watch them get fired up – or, at least, get a little bit warmer.

Honey baby

One quiet unassuming chap held me spellbound one day telling me about his hobby of beekeeping. It wasn’t so much what he was saying but how he was describing it.

His eyes were shining, he was speaking quickly and he was using his hands to describe this subject which he had now made very interesting.

He was buzzing (sorry, couldn’t resist that)

Here’s a little exercise for you

Say the following sentence out loud (okay wait till there’s no one around) There are 7 words; so say the sentence 7 times emphasising a different word in turn.

‘I didn’t say you stole my pen!’

Would you believe there are 7 meanings to this sentence depending on which word you emphasise.

Make it happen

Other people will respond more to your feelings than to what you actually say.

So if you want to get your message across to your employees, your customers, colleagues, or your family, then show more of how you feel.

And you do that through your tone of voice and your body language.

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5 Action Ideas to Motivate Difficult People

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When was the last time you had to deal with a difficult person.

It was probably an external customer or client, but Businessman Surprisedperhaps it was an internal customer, such as a one of your staff, a colleague or even – your boss!

In business, we usually strive to provide extraordinary service to both our internal and external customers. However, in the real world, things go wrong and mistakes are made.

These “customers” will often judge your level of service based on how you respond to a mistake. Do it well and they’ll probably forgive you, and possibly even say positive things about your business, or your abilities, to other people.

The important thing to realise when dealing with an upset person, is that you must –

Deal with their feelings, then deal with their problem.

Upset customers are liable to have strong feelings when you, your product or service lets them down, and they’ll probably want to dump these feeling on you.

You don’t deal with their feelings by concentrating on solving the problem, it takes more.

Here are 5 action ideas that deal with the customers’ human needs:

1 – Don’t let them get to you

Stay out of it emotionally and concentrate on listening non-defensively and actively. People may make disparaging and emotional remarks – don’t rise to the bait.

2 – Listen – listen – listen

Look and sound like you’re listening. The other person wants to know that you care and that you’re interested in their problem.

3 – Stop saying sorry

Sorry is an overused word, everyone says it when something goes wrong and it’s lost its value.

How often have you heard – ‘Sorry ’bout that, give me the details and I’ll sort this out for you.’

Far better to say – ‘I apologise for ……’

And if you really need to use the sorry word, make sure to include it as part of a full sentence. ‘I’m sorry you haven’t received that information as promised Mr Smith.’ It’s also good practise to use the other person’s name in a difficult situation, but not overdoing it

It’s also good practice to use the other person’s name in a difficult situation, but not overdoing it

4 – Empathise

Using empathy is an effective way to deal with the person’s feelings. Empathy isn’t about agreement, only acceptance of what they is saying and feeling.

Basically the message is – ‘I understand how you feel.’

Obviously this has to be a genuine response, the other person will realise if you’re insincere and they’ll feel patronised.

Examples of empathy responses would be – ‘I can understand that you’re angry,’ or ‘I see what you mean.’

Again, these responses need to be genuine.

5 – Build rapport

Sometimes it’s useful to add another phrase to the empathy response, including yourself in the picture – ‘I can understand how you feel, I don’t like it either when I’m kept waiting.’ This has the effect of getting on the other person’s side and builds rapport.

Some customer service people get concerned with this response as they believe it’ll lead to – ‘Why don’t you do something about it then.’

The majority of people won’t respond this way if they realise that you’re a reasonable and caring person.

If they do, then continue empathising and tell the person what you’ll do about the situation. ‘I’ll report this to my manager’ or ‘I’ll do my best to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.’

Make no mistake about it; people, be they customers, staff or your boss, are primarily driven by their emotions. It’s therefore important to use human responses in any interaction particularly when they are upset or angry.

It’s therefore important to use human responses in any interaction particularly when they are upset or angry.

If people like you and feel that you care, then they’re more likely to accept what you say and forgive your mistakes.

Comment below or send me and email and give me your thoughts –

Difficult people (227x346)

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7 Simple Steps to a Self-Motivating Team

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‘How do I motivate my staff?’ That’s the question I’m most often asked by business owners and managers. They want some instant fix, a silver bullet that improves staff motivation overnight. But as we all know, life isn’t like winners 1

I’ve been there

I understand why this question is being asked, I was a manager for fifteen years, and I appreciate the challenges managers face every day with their people. The answer I give is – ‘You don’t motivate your team, you create the environment where they motivate themselves!’

Generate momentum

Effective motivation is intrinsic, it has to come from within. There’s no instant fix; it’s an ongoing day to day process of small actions that build a highly motivated team.

It’s like pushing a heavy boulder, you need some initial effort to get the process going, but once you’ve done that, it takes a lot less effort to keep it moving.

7 Steps to success

  1. Spend some quality time with each of your team.

Talk with them and find out how they’re doing on a personal level, and a business level. Give them feedback; tell them when they do something well, and tell them when not so well. Use descriptive statements, not generalisations such as ‘well done!’

  1. Listen to what they have to say, and show that you’re listening.

Turn away from the computer, and switch off the phone. Keep good eye contact, use open body language, and make noises that indicate that you’re listening. Empathise with their personal problems and provide solutions to business problems, wherever possible.

  1. Coach them on the job, to do even better.

Remember that coaching is a two-way process with your team member; helping them to find solutions to job-related or personal problems

  1. Find ways to make their job more interesting.

Vary the jobs they do, give them some of your tasks, and give them more responsibility. Ask them to train or mentor another member of the team.

  1. Show that you appreciate them, and have some fun.

Give the occasional reward for no particular reason. Some time off work, a personal thank you letter, cakes or sweets, flowers on a birthday or a bottle of wine. Suggest a team member takes their partner out for a meal and charge it to expenses.

  1. Keep them informed.

Let them know what’s happening in the company, and how the business is doing. And provide relevant information on new products or services. Give them the feeling that what they do contributes to the success of the organisation.

  1. Trust and believe in them.

Show them what you need them to do, and let them get on with it. Take risks; don’t keep supervising. Set up parameters that allow them to make decisions. If they keep coming to you with questions, don’t provide an answer; ask them what they would do and support their response.

Dare to care

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Your team members want to know that you care about them, that you’re interested in them from a personal, and business point of view. They want to believe that you trust them, and want them to succeed.

If you can create that environment; then you’ll have a happy and motivated team that make a positive contribution to your business?

You can listen or download below.


8 Benefits of Spending Time with Your Team

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  1. You get to understand them betterinterview 3

Almost every employee wants to know that their manager is genuinely and positively interested in them. They may not always give that impression by their demeanour but trust me – they want to know you care; they want acceptance from you.

If they know you care about them, then your relationship will be much more productive.

  1. You find out how they’re handling the job

As well as getting to know the individual members of your team on a human or personal basis, you need to get to know them on a business basis.

How are they getting along with the job? And it’s not a matter of asking – ‘How’s the job going?’ If you ask that, then you may get a list of complaints or you may just get – ‘It’s all going fine.’

You need to be more specific in your questions and encourage descriptive answers.

  1. It helps you deal with problems

One of the main benefits of spending time with your team is that it lets them know you’re there to help with problems. Of course, you’re not there necessarily to solve their problems but to coach them to solve their problems. 

  1. They get to know you 

Your team will want to know about you at both a personal and business level. Again, that doesn’t mean sharing your intimate thoughts, but it’s similar to the things you want to know about them.

Even although team members don’t ask you about yourself – tell them. Reveal bits and pieces about yourself over a period of time.

What you’re really saying is – ‘I’m human, I’m like you, and I experience the same situations.’

  1. You have the opportunity to give them feedback and coach them

This is one of the most important things the successful manager can do. This is your opportunity to tell them the things that you do like about their performance and also the things you don’t like.

Too often managers leave feedback until a performance review and often these are only once or twice a year.

  1. They have the opportunity to give you feedback

Now this may make you feel a bit nervous, and it certainly can be scary when you’re not used to it, but it is very motivational.

If you create a healthy open environment in your team then they should feel comfortable giving feedback to you. It may not always be what you want to hear but it can certainly improve your relationship with them.

  1. It encourages opinions and ideas to flow from them

It’s often the case that members of your team have positive suggestions that will benefit the team, the business and you.

However, they may not always be willing to seek you out and tell you about them. Perhaps they may feel foolish or embarrassed in front of their colleagues.

If you’re spending time with them, then this is the ideal opportunity for them to give you their thoughts. Of course, you sometimes have to dig this out and encourage it.

  1. It allows you to explain the company’s mission and the individual’s role in this.

When you spend time with each individual it gives you the opportunity to explain how the business is going and how the team is performing. This is often done at a team brief and that’s okay.

However in a one to one situation you can discuss in more depth and encourage ideas and feedback from them as described above.

Team leaders and managers, need to get up off their chair, or out of their office and spend time with their team.

That is, if they want motivated and engaged staff.

And if you want to know more, send me an email at

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12 Steps You Can Use to Deal with Employee Concerns

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When you spend time with your individual staff members (which I hope you do) then it’s inevitable that that you’ll discussionhear about their concerns and problems.

These could be on a human level; however they’re more likely to be on a business level.

Believe me, I’ve been there, I understand the challenges. And these 12 steps will help.

Whether it’s a human or a business problem, the same rules apply.

  1. Don’t get hooked

Don’t react to a concern. It’s very easy to react with – ‘Here we go again, the same old moans and groans. They’re always on about this and there’s nothing I can do.’

If you react this way, then it’ll show on your face and in your tone of voice. The team member then thinks – ‘What’s the point; he’s not interested in my problems, why should I bother.’

Get into thinking mode and stay out of it emotionally. Concentrate on listening non-defensively and actively.

If the team member makes disparaging and emotional remarks – don’t rise to the bait.

  1. Listen– listen – listen

Look and sound like you’re listening. When face to face you need to look interested, nod your head and keep good eye contact. Over the phone you need to make the occasional ‘Uh-Huh – I see.’

I’ve seen managers, when faced with a problem from a team member, start to do something else, like work on the computer. And I’ve heard them say – ‘It’s okay, I can do two things at once, I can listen to you and work on the computer.’

No you can’t, and the message your team member gets is – ‘My problem isn’t that important, my manager just isn’t interested.’

When you’re spending time with your people you need to give them your full attention. You need to look them in the eye, concentrate on them and make them feel that what they say is important and deserves your attention.

And if you don’t have time at that particular moment, make an appointment for a more suitable time for both of you.

  1. Write it down

As well as looking interested in your team member’s concern, it’s a good idea to write it down.

I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking – ‘I’ll remember that when I get back to the office and I’ll check on it.’

However, one person I was with said – ‘You won’t do anything about that Alan because you won’t remember it.’ From that point on I wrote things down.

  1. Repeat back

It’s also a good idea to paraphrase what the team member has said. It ensures your understanding and lets them know you’ve been listening.

  1. Use names

It may seem like a simple thing but it’s very important.

You could say in response to a concern – ‘I’ll speak to the accounts department about that.’

It would be far better to say – ‘I’ll speak to the accounts department about that Susan, thank you for bringing it to my attention.’

A person’s name is one of the warmest sounds they ever hear. It says – ‘I recognise you as an individual.’

However, I suggest you don’t overdo it as it may come across as patronising.

  1. Take ownership

This is the same as dealing with an external customer.

Your team members do not want to hear you say – ‘That’s nothing to do with me, that’s the sales departments fault.’

Do not blame someone or something else. It may be the responsibility of the sales department, but it needs to be explained in a logical and factual way.

  1. Watch out for people’s egos

If your team member is really wound up about something, let them get it off their chest. Don’t interrupt and don’t argue.

Don’t jump in with solutions and try to solve the problem then and there.

And for goodness sake, don’t ever say – ‘Calm down.’

  1. See it from their point of view

You might find it hard to understand what they’re on about; however put yourself in their shoes.

If you were doing their job every day, how would you feel?

You might even consider that their concern is something fairly trivial and you think – ‘What’s the big deal, I’ll fix it right away.’

It is a big deal for the team member and they want you to appreciate it.

You don’t necessarily need to agree with them; however you need to accept the fact that it’s a problem for them.

  1. Be very aware of your body language and voice tone

We often exacerbate a situation without realising it. Our tone of voice and our body language can often contradict what we’re saying.

We may be saying ‘sorry’ however our tone and our body language may be communicating our frustration and annoyance.

People listen with their eyes and will set greater credence on how you say something rather than what you say.

It’s also important to use a warm tone of voice when dealing with a team member’s problem. This doesn’t mean being ‘nicey-nicey’ or behaving in a non-assertive manner.

It’s about showing that you’re interested in what they’re saying and that you care.

  1. Deal with their feelings, and then deal with their problem

Using empathy is a very effective way to deal with a person’s feelings. Empathy isn’t about agreement, only acceptance of what the team member is saying and feeling.

Basically the message is – ‘I understand how you feel.’ 

This really has to be a genuine response, the person will realise if you’re insincere and they’ll feel patronised.

  1. Under promise, over deliver

Whatever way you respond to a team member’s problem, do not make a rod for your own back. It’s often tempting in a difficult situation to make promises that are difficult to keep.

We say things like – ‘I’ll get this sorted this afternoon Paul and I’ll phone you back.’

It may be extremely difficult to get it sorted this afternoon.

Far better to say – ‘I’ll get this sorted by tomorrow afternoon Paul.’ Then phone Paul back the same afternoon or early the next morning and he’ll think you’re great.

  1. You don’t win them all

Remember, everyone gets a little mad from time to time, and you won’t always be able to placate or resolve your team member’s problem.

There is no magic formula.

However the majority of people in this world are reasonable people, and if you treat them as such, then they’re more likely to respond in a positive manner. (And make your life a lot easier)

And there is more in this book to help you. The one on the right is the eBook version. Just click on the book for where to buy.





Why Soft Skills Are Not Soft

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I must be honest, I hate the expression “soft skills”. I know that it’s used to differentiate from hard skills, such as the 20130628-1652591technical ability to do a particular job.

So what exactly are soft skills?

Do they include the skill to answer the phone in a warm and friendly manner?

Or perhaps deal with a difficult customer, empathise, and help them to get what they want.

Maybe even sell the customer a product or service.

Perhaps for managers, they include the ability to listen to their employees, and to empathise with their situation.

And to give feedback that reinforces good behaviour, or changes not so good behaviour

Don’t be a softy

Well, in my book, there is nothing soft about these skills.

These are the skills that will decide if a customer buys from you, or one of your competitors.

These are the skills that will ensure the customer comes back to your business, and perhaps recommends your product or service to other people.

These are the skills that may ensure your customer pays your higher price, and pays you on time.

Hard skills can get the job done. Soft skills make the difference between a job that gets done, and a job that gets done exceedingly well.

So-called soft skills are all about motivated and engaged employees, more customers, more sales, and more profits.

Soft skills get the sales and make the profits.

Maybe not so soft – eh!

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Motivational Management Masterclass for Hospitality Managers

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What you need to remember about team motivation

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Don’t know if you’re a soccer fan or not, but it was hard to miss that  Jose Mourinho lost his job as Chelsea Football businesswoman leading presentation while audience cheers.Club manager last week.

This was just seven months after he led them to the Premier League title. But this season, they have lost nine of their games out of sixteen, and are in danger of being relegated.

So, what went wrong?

Two level interactions

If you’ve ever attended one of my training sessions or heard me speak, you’ll know that I’m always on about the human/business model.

This is in relation to dealing with members of your team or customers.

In any interaction that we have with other people, be it written or verbal, it can take place on two levels.

These interactions can be between the people you work with – your staff – your colleagues. Or between you and your customers or clients. Or it could be between you and your partner, your children, or any other people in your life.

Interactions will always take place on a business level.

For example – you walk into a coffee shop, ask for a coffee and that’s what you get.

Or – you ask a member of your team to do a particular task.

Or – you deal with a customer enquiry and give them what they want.

Make it better

All of the above are business interactions. However, if you can add a human level to any of these situations, then it will make the interactions more positive.

You’ll build a happy and engaged team , you’ll have happier customers, and your coffee break will be much better.

Is it worth it?

Many people fail to realise the importance and the value of human level interactions.

Some managers think it’s about being nicey-nicey and touchy-feely, and they often see it as a sign of weakness.

Dealing with people on a human level is about – listening skills, using the right words, being aware of your tone of voice and your body language.

It’s about being empathetic and accepting that other people may see things differently from you.

Does Jose Mourinho know about the business side of football, the tactics, the training, how the game must be played?

I’m sure he does.

Does he know about all the human aspects of dealing with players, and how to motivate them?

I’m not sure he does.

Perhaps he should have read this…41tl4u-h9zl-_uy250_

2 Tips to be Lean and Mean in 2016

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Let me tell you a quick story. When I left school and started looking for a job as an apprentice engineer. I was repeatedly told, ‘It’s a bad time to find a job.’

3d white human running alone in white background

It was, and it took time and effort.

When I decided to leave engineering and find a job in sales; I was repeatedly told, ‘It’s a bad time to find a job in sales.’

It was, and it took time and effort.

When I decided to give up my job and start my own business in 1993; I was told by lots of well-meaning people, ‘It’s a bad time to start a new business.’

It was, and it took lots of time and effort.

I don’t know about your job or your business, but when has it ever been a good time to find a job, or get promoted, or start a business, or find new customers, or sell more of your product or service?

If you want to look back, this time, next year on a successful 2016, then you need to be lean and mean

  1. Lean and Mean with your brain

Imagine that in 2016 you are rejected for a bank loan, or you’re turned down for promotion. Perhaps a potential customer rejects a proposal you’ve been working on.

Maybe a publishing company rejects the book that you’ve slaved over for the past couple of years.

If you react with:

  • ‘Oh no, not again!’
  • ‘I’m really fed up with this.’
  • ‘These people are a real pain.’
  • ‘They’re making a big mistake.’
  • ‘What am I going to do now?’

This sort of reaction drains your brain of energy; it adds to your stress levels and destroys your self-motivation.

You need to get lean and mean with your brain.

Engage the thinking part of your brain, not the reacting part.

Tell yourself:

  • ‘I’ll make an appointment today with a better bank!’
  • ‘I’ll show my employer how good I really am or I’ll find a new job!’
  • ‘I’ll phone the next potential customer on my list right now!’
  • ‘The next publishing company will see how good my book really is!’

Pay the fine

There are also many minor situations that happen every day that’ll drain the energy from your brain.

Let’s say you receive a parking ticket. Pay the fine right away; get rid of it, forget it and move on.

Moaning and complaining about it drains your brain and the fine still has to be paid.

Do not, and I repeat, do not say – ‘Oh no, what am I going to do now!?’

Every time you say, ‘Oh no’ your brain has a huge drain of energy.

Talk to yourself

Build up your brain energy by using lots positive self-talk.

Listen to the self-talk that goes on in your head and ask yourself:

‘Is what I’m saying allowing me to be confident, on top and going for it?’

If so – great!

‘Or is it holding me back and stopping me achieve my goals?’

If this is the case – stop it, change the program!

Think about the things you say to yourself and make every statement in the present tense.

Don’t say:

  • ‘I’m going to make a success of this business’
  • ‘I’m going to get organised,’
  • ‘I’m going to lose weight and get fitter’
  • ‘I’m going to be much more confident.’


  • ‘I am totally in control of my life.’
  • ‘I am totally confident and positive.’
  • ‘I’m achieving my goals.’
  • ‘I have determination and drive.’

What you’re actually doing here is re-programming your subconscious.

If you talk to yourself in a positive way, that’s what your subconscious will focus on and you’ll be lean and mean.

  1. Lean and Mean with the body

The body and the brain are linked together so when the brain drains of energy so does the body. However, the body also does a lot of running about, up and down off the seat, and often takes a bit of a beating.

For it to work well, it needs to be in good condition in the first place.

We all know by now that if we eat too much or eat the wrong things, smoke too much or drink too much alcohol, then our body is in danger of breaking down.

Oh no, not exercise! 

If you want to be lean and mean, then you’re going to have to do some exercise. (Do I hear you saying – ‘I need the body energy before I can do the exercise!?’)

You know as well as I, that if you take more exercise, you will have more energy.

Now I know you think you don’t have the time. You may also be the type that doesn’t want to go to the gym and lift heavy things, or leap about in an aerobics class.

However, I am totally convinced that you need to take some exercise that makes you sweat a little.

I’m sorry, but walking the dog or a round of golf doesn’t count, it isn’t the kind of exercise I’m talking about. Golf is great and it’s good for the stress, but it doesn’t make you sweat.

Maybe go for a swim; you’ll get a bit out of breath, and you won’t  sweat.

If you’re going to walk, then walk fast for a distance, enough to push up the heart rate and increase the breathing.

Have fun

Again, get your internal program right and start to think how you can make your exercise enjoyable.

I see some people at the health club making the whole business a real chore. They get on a bike or a rowing machine and try to kill themselves for twenty minutes.

If that’s your thing then fine, but please don’t make it a chore, plug into the sound system and catch up with what’s on TV.

If you’re really not into exercise then please make sure you have other activities outside of your workplace and make them fun. Too many people are going home and slumping in front of the TV – successful people don’t do that.

A laugh and a sweat a day – keeps the stress away!

Make no mistake about it; if you look after the Body and the Brain, you’ll have a lean and mean 2016


10 Ways to Motivate a Difficult Manager

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Let me ask you a simple question; does your manager motivate you? Or do you find him or her difficult to deal with? If you’re lucky then it will be the former rather than the latter.article400_man_woman_motivate-420x0

It’s not my fault

When I’m running a seminar for managers on how to motivate their staff, the comment I hear most is – ‘How can I motivate my staff when my manager doesn’t motivate me, and even makes my life difficult?’

So the next question is – what are you going to do about it?

One way to do it

One of the best ways to motivate your staff is to give them feedback on their performance.

You tell them when they do things you do like and you tell them when they do things you don’t like.

It’s exactly the same with your manager.

Now I appreciate that we’re getting into scary territory here but you’re going to have to be brave and take some action.

There’s no point in going on about your manager needing to change, because that’s unlikely to happen – unless you do something about it.

The rules for giving your manager feedback are almost the same as those for your staff.

  1. Do it ASAP

When your manager says or does something you do or don’t like, you need to say something right away.

If it’s something you do like, it’s not much use saying something weeks later – ‘Thanks for helping me with that difficult customer last week Dave.

Dave is going to have a bit of a problem remembering that situation and the effect of the feedback is totally wasted.

It also makes sense to tell Dave about something you don’t like as soon as possible.

  1. Do it in private

You really don’t want members of your team or your colleagues hearing what you say to your manager be it good or bad.

  1. Check that it’s okay to speak

Make sure that you have your manager’s full attention. There’s no point in saying what you have to say if they have something else on their mind, or they’re working on their computer. It’s also good manners and shows respect.

  1. Announce your intentions

If your manager is not used to receiving feedback from you, what do you think runs through their mind when you pull up a chair or ring them on the phone – they think it’s bad news!

They think you’re about to complain about something, or you’ve done something wrong, or there’s a problem.

It’s important to tell them up front what you want to speak about.

You might say – ‘Laura, I’d just like to thank you for something you did today.’

Or if it’s something you don’t like you might say – ‘Laura, I’d just like to talk about something you said today that I’m uncomfortable about.’

  1. Tell them how YOU feel about their behaviour

This is nothing to do with anyone else. Don’t say things like – ‘The team don’t like the way you speak to us.’

Use lots of ‘I’ messages; say things like – ‘I’m unhappy with the way you told me how to do that job today. It made me felt embarrassed in front of my team members. Would you be prepared to speak to me in private in future?’

  1. Focus on one thing at a time

Don’t confuse your manager with a whole list of behaviours. If it’s things that you do like then you’re in danger of coming across as patronising. If it’s things that you don’t like, then you may come across as a whinger.

  1. Be specific

When you’re giving your manager feedback it’s important to focus on job-related behaviour and not on the personality of the individual.

If you feel a bit uncomfortable, try to focus on the manager’s behaviour in terms of how they said or did something. That’s what you’re giving feedback on, not them as a person.

Avoid ‘You’ messages. It becomes easier if you’re using ‘I’ messages and being very descriptive about what you’ve seen or heard.

You could say something like – ‘I liked the way you showed me how to lay out that report – thank you, Jeff.’  Or – ‘Jeff, I’m concerned by the way you told me how to do that report. It’s important for me to get it right, would you be prepared to spend a bit more time explaining what you require?’

  1. Include the customer and the organisation

Whenever appropriate; relate what your feedback is about, to how the customer or the business could be affected. This, of course, could be an internal or an external customer.

  1. Get input

When giving constructive feedback, it’s important to get the manager’s input.

You might say – ‘I’m unhappy with the number of tasks you’ve asked me to do this week, and I’m concerned that I may not be able to do them in the best interests of the business. However I’m willing to listen to what you have to say, and discuss how we can make efficient use of my time.’

  1. Don’t leave them low

This is particularly important after giving feedback on something you’re not happy about. This isn’t an attack on the manager; it’s about job-related behaviour.

Think about how you feel when one of your team speaks to you about something they’re unhappy about. It can leave you low and possibly stressed.

Finally – be brave

There’s still a culture in some organisations that doesn’t allow the boss to be challenged. It’s a case of – ‘The boss tells me what to do, and it’s my job to do as I’m told.’

It’s also the case that some managers don’t want to say anything to their boss for fear of being perceived as negative or a whinger.

Be brave and give your boss some positive feedback.

The occasional compliment or descriptive thank you will work wonders for your relationship.

And if the boss is doing or saying something you don’t like, give him or her some constructive feedback using the guidelines above.

If you follow these guidelines, then you’re much more likely to motivate your manager, manage any difficult situations, and achieve more positive results.

Excerpt from Loyalty Magazine

“All in all this is a really useful book that should be passed around the call centre, the sales team and even the family. After that, you should put it in a safe place for when you are having a bad day, and you need 51je1l11k3l-_uy250_a few suggestions”.


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