Eric Jacobson

Book Offers Tips For Listening, Asking And Suggesting

In Employee Engagement, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Listening Skills, Management, Motivating Employees, Performance Appraisals on February 7, 2011 at 8:13 am

If you have a manager who isn’t the best communicator, you can suggest he/she read Jane Murphy’s and Khatun Huber’s book, What Could Happen If You Do Nothing?

Actually, it’s more of a handbook than a book, and it is best read by finding the section most applicable at the moment versus reading it start to finish. 

It’s filled with mini-dialogues that demonstrate the impact of engaged listening, deliberative questioning, and animating suggestions to facilitate change and action.

To me, the most useful section is the list of a dozen or so questions (for each conversation category below) to ask an employee to:

  • Start a conversation with an employee
  • Conduct a meaningful follow-up conversation
  • Clarify inconsistencies in what you are hearing from an employee
  • Build and further a conversation on what’s being said to move the conversation ahead
  • Wind down a conversation
  • Solicit feedback

Equally enlightening are these questions from which a manager can select to ensure all parties benefit from a performance review:

  • What have you learned from the reviews you’ve had?
  • What do you find challenging about reviews?
  • Is there anyone whose input you’d like to include whom you’d like me to talk to?
  • So how would you grade yourself on that?  What’s your thinking here?  How could you make this a ten?
  • Do you want to add any points you want to address in your review?
  • How can we talk about this in a way that works toward a solution?
  • What has been really working?  Where are there gaps?  What can you do to get past this roadblock?
  • Is there anything more I could do to make this review process more useful to you?

I receive about a book a week from authors to review, and I don’t recommend them all. This is one, however, that should be helpful to managers who need to hone their communications skills.

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