Thursday, March 30, 2006

That dreaded word....

There is one word which I find so destructive. This word is so often used and so often it leads to antagonism or defensive behaviour.. the word...."Why" I cringe when people say "Why haven't you done that?" or "Why did you react like that?"
Ouch! whether you know it or not, the majority of times a sentence starts with why...it does comes across to the recipient as aggressive. One way round this is to substitute why for how......it allows you to have a dialogue about the subject.
So state the problem or issue and then ask how this could be resolved, how this could be perceived or what the person is thinking...etc I am not saying ignore the issue but make sure that you are not putting the person on the defensive by opening with "Why?" A conversation with constructive feedback will always win over an argument.....

2 comments:

Michael Wagner said...

How we pose questions like this are so important. So often we shame those we work with suggesting not that a mistake was made, but that the person addressed IS a mistake. Example, "Why do you always mess up the daily accounting?"

The goal of dialogue is the right one.

Good reminder - thanks!

MabelandHarry said...

Michael
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http://theengagingbrand.typepad.com