When I am training a group of people, part of what I do is help people discover where they can improve. This is a delicate task. If it isn’t facilitated respectfully, I run the risk of creating a climate where people do not feel valued or safe to explore and take risks with their skills. My guess is you have also found yourself in situations where you need to build the confidence those you supervise. Here are a few of the techniques I use:
Seeing alternatives to their behavior. Begin your question with, “Is it possible ….”. For example, if someone does not understand why writing concise emails is important, ask them “Is it possible you would receive the response you want if the email could be read quickly?”
Rejecting an idea. Instead of being direct and telling them their idea won’t work, validate them for offering their idea and provide a reason for not using it. It might sound something like, “I appreciate your enthusiasm and creativity. It appears we are moving in a different direction. “
Responding to a wrong answer. It is fantastic when people want to answer questions, but sometimes the answer is clearly off base. A short “no” does not suffice in this case. Instead, express appreciation for their input and rephrase – “That is a good thought. Let me ask the question in a different way …”
Getting them on task. Watch for people who hijack the direction of a meeting or training. Ask them to write down their question or idea so it can be revisited at the end of the meeting if time allows. This often curbs the amount of interruptions.
Overall, if you are trying to build the confidence of someone you supervise (or even just maintain it) it is imperative to make them feel valued, safe, and respected.
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