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A Call to Courage

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Speaking your truth isn’t always easy. In the context of a work relationship, sometimes it can be downright thorny. How to say something risky or difficult without  offending the other person, damaging the relationship, and possibly worsening the situation?

And yet, in holding back the truth, we may be holding back the other person and denying them an opportunity to grow. How often have you seen someone who has some attribute that is keeping them in a dead end career – and yet they are the only ones who are unaware of the problem? Yet, somehow, we rationalize doing nothing.

Yet spouting unwanted feedback in the name of ‘truth’ can be just as hurtful and damaging.

The Coach’s Tip – Sharing information and offering feedback.

  • Check your Intention. Is this about supporting them to be successful, or is there another agenda at play here for you?
  • How solid is your relationship and trust? What steps might you need to take to ensure that the other person truly ‘gets’ that your intention is to support and not hurt?
  • Watch your language! Make sure it is neutral, respectful, and centered on facts and observations, not hypothesis
  • Where possible, shift to Ask from Tell. How might a couple of carefully thought-out questions open the door to self-discovery by the other person?

Editor’s Note:  Jan G. van der Hoop, President of HiringSmart™ — our go-to partner for help on how to hire more effectively, will be contributing to this blog on Mondays.  You can reach him directly at 905-338-7961 or

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One Response to “A Call to Courage”

  1. Ed Cox Says:

    I also believe it is better to use “I” statements. (Kind of like your “asking” not telling.)

    “When this happened, I felt this way.” It’s descriptive but not accusatory.

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The following comments are for Engagient's Employee Engagement Seminar for Managers

We were trying to get the buy-in from our Management team, prior to rolling out a new Performance Review Process and move the management style away from the industrial age style in an attempt to get our employees more engaged.  For the last 45 years we have been working under the old world style of management and old habits die hard.  The Engagient seminar on Employee Engagement was exactly what we were looking to install at Perfect Plastic Printing.

Don presented the information with a passion and energy that impacted every participant.  The information presented represented the results of research and science as opposed to just one more consultant’s opinion.  This made the buy-in so much easier.  The combination of instruction and small group exercises kept the class from getting tired and kept the information geared more toward our business as opposed to generalizing information.  Don was extremely knowledgeable on the subject and this was apparent when he answered participant questions.  He kept the conversations light and humorous, but had you believing that getting your employees more engaged is crucial to surviving in business today.  The feedback from the Management team on the seminar was all positive. Don was one of the best presenters that we have experienced at Perfect Plastic Printing.

--Carl Valenti
Director of Facilities
Perfect Plastic Printing
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