Being open and honest in communication can be tricky. Can I ignore the situation? Will talking about it make it worse? These phrases have been recommended by clients to respectfully keep conversations open and honest.
Starting a conversation:
- Can I talk with you about a recent conversation we had?
- I don’t think you meant to come across this way, but what you said the other day didn’t feel respectful to me. [Or: made me feel disrespected].
- I appreciate that you are overwhelmed [Or: you have a lot going on] and I don’t know if you are aware of how you have been coming across. Can we talk about what I’ve [seen/heard] and my concerns about the impact it might be having on you and others?
- I’ve known you a long time and enjoy working with you. Lately we are interacting differently. What is going on?
- There is something that has been bothering me and I want to be able to talk it through. Is now a good time?
- I don’t want to take sides in interactions between others, but my job is to think about what is in the best interest of the organization and the team. Based on that, are you open to talking about the current situation?
Responses to others:
- This is starting to feel like gossiping, and so, it’s probably a good time for me to get back to work.
- Have you tried talking to her/him about this? It sounds like something you should work out.
- Work is so much easier when we all get along. I’m wondering how you might handle this in a way that supports our Values.
- This is the kind of problem that might affect our customers. Do you have any ideas about how we can address it?
- It sounds like you are frustrated. I just want to be clear, are you just looking for a few minutes to vent, or is there a way you’d like me to help you?
- It feels to me like you are yelling, and I don’t like to be yelled at.
Manager to manager conversation starters:
- We are really focused on [respect in our area], and we would like to have a great relationship with you. I’m getting feedback that people don’t always feel respected when they interact with you. This impacts our ability to [provide patient care/work effectively with you].
- I’d like to set up some time to come and talk to you about improving communication between our two areas. I’m very interested to hear if there are things we can do to make it easier for your team. I also have some input from my staff that I’d like to share.
- There is a lot that we are doing really well, but we want to take our team to the next level in being more [efficient/effective]. Based on that, there is something I’d like to address with you.