Steps to Management Success – Step 75: It’s All in the Delivery

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 2nd, 2010


It’s All in the Delivery

The right words, tone, mood, time, et cetera can affect how well your message gets across—or doesn’t. All too often, the first thing that pops into your head could benefit from revision.

WHAT IT MEANS: There’s a time where humor or sarcasm might be appropriate, but if you happen to be criticizing someone’s performance, it’s probably not the time. There’s a time when you can be more jovial and lighthearted, and other times when you have to be the more buttoned-up “Ms. Serious Manager.” It’s always important to be sensitive to how you say something and not just what you say. Venting your anger or making a withering remark might feel good at the moment, but you may regret your uninhibited outburst for many days afterward. Stay cool!

ACTION PLAN: Couple criticism with praise. Nobody really likes being criticized, but everyone does appreciate being treated with sensitivity and respect. When you do have to call someone to task, do it seriously, specifically, and on an even keel emotionally. Temper the criticism by letting the employee know that you are satisfied with his or her work quality overall, that this is just one thing (albeit an important one) that needs to be corrected, and that you are confident in his or her ability to do so. As the saying goes, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

EVEN BETTER: As much as possible, take the time to consider how you will say something. Also, people tend to communicate more effectively when they’re in a positive frame of mind, so make sure that frame fits you. If you’re perturbed, enraged, surly, frustrated, annoyed—or in any other subpar emotional state—wait for it to pass or at least subside before reprimanding, criticizing, or confronting someone.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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