• Craig Lovelidge

Should You Speak Off The Record?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

Being able to communicate well with your team sometimes means going that extra mile. Sometimes a ‘quiet word’ needs to be had, and that’s when you should be open to listen...

Why Speak Off The Record Off The Record conversations can deal with underlying issues that would otherwise go unnoticed.

It could be a personal issue or a management bully or process failure that is slowing down productivity. Any number of things could be up for discussion.

Off The Record lets people air their thoughts to start

a ‘delicate’ conversation...

Building Safety InVision’s Design Trend Report recently mentioned; In today’s companies “Culture Matters More Than Ever” Part of that culture is the feeling of being safe and the sense of being heard when speaking up. Off The Record gives that feeling of safety. By assuring your team they can openly talk to you (about any subject) you empower them to be themselves if/when issues arise.

Building Trust In a safe working environment, trust is built. When you have trust and a team know you have their back, they will willingly have yours. Trust comes from delivering on your promises. If a team member tells you something in confidence and you can do something to help, then deliver that help. If you simply need to be supportive towards someone going through a tough time, then be supportive. Trust is trust, whichever way you build it.

Go beyond your role If you’ve got a team member that tells you about an issue that you can solve, then solve it. But what if it’s something that you can’t do on your own? Do what you can to put wheels in motion; if that means talking to the C-Suite then do that. What if it’s not your job? Make it your job to solve the issue. Do what you can. That’s what makes a trusted leader; Understand the issue, look for facts, solve the problem by finding a solution.

Fancy a quick drink? Can we go for a coffee? However you want to do this, talking Off The Record can be done at anytime: - Friday after work drinks - Lunchtimes during the week - Mornings over coffee Be open to ‘being open’. You make the call. If there’s something going on that someone needs to discuss, find the time and place to discuss it.

What if your team doesn't want to talk? That’s fine. If they’re a young team or you’re new to the team, they won’t feel confident to talk. Build trust in your own way and give it time. The team may come around, they may not. You can’t force the issue and neither should you.

It's not for everyone Some people will be scared of taking this approach. Sometimes it’s just too controversial. Talking Off The Record is a personal thing. If you feel uncomfortable doing it, the main thing to remember is you’re looking out for another person’s best interest; Do this in an honest and respectful way. Start with minor issues. If you succeed, you’ll be more confident to help with bigger things that may come.

Do you have any other tips for Speaking Off The Record? Leave a comment below. Don’t be shy, I’d really like to hear from you.

Originally post on LinkedIn

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