|Photo Credit: Ian Schneider|
1. Pause and reflect on the intent: I (MF) like to be seen as efficient, organized, and attentive to time. If I criticize Tom for being late, implying he is lazy or irresponsible it will likely not go well. If my focus is on Tom: "Gee, I'm glad you're home! It must have been a long day," he is aware of my empathy and compassion from the very beginning. With this as my focus, I am less likely to come across as coercive or judgmental.
2. Ask Permission: If I have taken a moment to pause and reflect on whose needs might be met -- mine or Mary Frances, it would follow that I would seek permission. "Would you mind some feedback?" If I Ass-u-me Mary Frances wants feedback I could land my A _ _ in hot water.
3. Be Positive: I try to be encouraging, kind and compassionate. If I sense Mary Frances is stressed because she has taken on too much I might offer to help. "I know you have a lot on your plate, perhaps we can work on this together?" This is much more effective than "I guess you will never learn!" Instead of my focus on 'fixing' Mary Frances, I turn my intent and my heart to 'helping' her.
4. Focus on the Present Situation: Absolutes like: "You always" and "You never" are simply not true and certainly not pertinent to the present situation. Keeping my focus on Tom's fatigue when he arrives home late keeps me from blame and criticism and builds trust. It can set the table for conversation when we are both rested and at our best.
5. Keep it Practical: Focus on specific ways to improve, perhaps prioritizing, simplifying, asking for help. The key here is conversation and not a lecture. Ask questions. How can I help? Is there something I can do for you before I leave the office? Keep it within the realm of your relationship, accepting limitations and pulling to each of your strengths. Our focus is a joint effort at moving forward, helping each other discover new ways to grow.
|Photo Credit: Azrul Aziz|