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How to Start Effective Conversations with Your Employees

How to Start Effective Conversations with Your Employees

Starting effective conversations, especially about career choices, may be difficult. When it comes to meeting effectiveness in general, the first few minutes are the most important ones: they set the goal, focus level, and atmosphere, which are very hard to change later. How could the first minutes of effective conversations look?

We need to establish an atmosphere that will give us feelings and facts that we can discuss, but can also open the discussion and stimulate more questions and ideas, rather than closing them down to just discussing a few pre-prepared bullet points.

Challenge, Fun, Team

There is a very simple technique that I found very successful in serving that purpose. There are three simple questions to ask:

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  • What is your challenge level?
  • What is your fun level?
  • How do you rate your team?

All you need is a sheet of paper—draw three bars on it, explain what they mean, and ask your employee to put three dots on the bars.

Challenge, Fun, Team

    The order is really important: challenge, fun, team. Challenge opens the discussion with the right question: “Am I using my skills effectively and do I feel I am developing?” Fun connects strongly with both challenge level and the team perception, that’s why it’s in the middle. Team is a very important factor, too; no action is meaningless in a community.

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    Examples

    There are few typical examples that I found through that exercise:

    1. Not challenged enough
      Underchallenged person
        Typically that person will be unsatisfied with their work, and may be thinking about changing their job. Their ratings for “fun” and “team” are usually very low as well. People who aren’t challenged enough aren’t motivated, and can demotivate the team in a downward spiral as well.
      • Over-challenged
        Over-challenged person

          As you increase the challenge level, so does the fun. However, there is a point at which the person becomes over-challenged, which kills the fun aspect because of stress and anxiety. In that area, levels of fun and job dedication depend strongly on the team. Once I was told that the person is radically over-committed, but the team is so great that it made projects really enjoyable. Of course this can’t work long-term, but it reveals very important information to you before it’s too late.
        • Great team
          Great Team
            There were few examples in which people rated the team with the max score. They told me that if they were to prepare another wedding the next month, the entire team would be invited! Would you like to work in such a team? It’s of vital importance to award such people: consider organizing a great event for the team—possibly during working hours. This show of appreciation generally works much better than any other incentive. When you have a great team, you need to be very careful about re-organizations, or people quitting their jobs, as such things will greatly destabilize the team as a working unit.

          Effective Conversations

          What I like about this exercise is that it gives you a lot of information, and opens up a really great and honest discussion at the same time:

          “You said you were not challenged enough. What would be a positive challenge for you?”

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          “Your task is critical to us and you are doing well at it, but it seems you are not enjoying it at all. How could we change that?”

          “You said you were challenged, but it seems that you find no fun in your work. Why?”

          “It seems that as a person you are challenged appropriately and have real fun, but you rate your team with a very low score. Why?”

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          By asking such questions, people will not only tell you what the problem is, but in most cases they will give you the solution right away. People do not want to be a part of the problem: they want to be a part of the solution.

          Career conversations are a hot topic right now. As coaching becomes more and more popular, many managers read books related to career conversations like “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go” or consider using DixIt cards to talk about emotions. They may, however, miss this “standard tool” method that they could use for longer periods of time.

          This tool worked well in my case and I hope it will also be very successful for you.

          More by this author

          Piotr Nabielec

          Author, CEO, Consultant

          How to Really Achieve Goals 8 Outlook Hints Everyone Should Know 7 Things Smart Learners Do Differently 10 Ways To Have Quality Sleep That You Probably Don’t Know 9 Things You Can Do To Completely Unleash Your Potentials

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          Last Updated on October 17, 2019

          How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

          How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

          You see your partner every single day. They are the first person you talk to in the morning and the last person you kiss goodnight.

          But does seeing each other day in and day out equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.

          Spending quality time with your partner is the best way to ensure your relationship stays healthy and strong. This means going above and beyond sitting together while you watch Netflix or going out for the occasional dinner. You deserve more from your relationship – and so does your spouse!

          What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without interruption. It’s a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication will build emotional intimacy and trust.

          Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not sex, necessarily (but that’s great, too!) but through hand-holding, cuddling, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection will boost partner satisfaction.[1]

          So how do you spend quality time with your partner? Here are 13 relationship tips on making the most out of your time with your partner.

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          1. Recognize the Signs

          If you want a healthy relationship, you have to learn how to recognize the signs that you need to spend more quality time together.

          Some telltale signs include:

          • You’re always on your phones.
          • You value friendships or hobbies over quality time with your spouse.
          • You aren’t together during important events.
          • You are arguing more often or lack connection.
          • You don’t make plans or date nights.
          • You’re not happy.

          If you are experiencing any of these relationship symptoms, know that quality time together can reverse the negative effects of the signs above.

          2. Try New Things Together

          Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or speak another language? How about skydive or ballroom dance?

          Instead of viewing these as solo hobbies and interests, why not involve your partner?

          Trying new activities together builds healthy relationships because it encourages spouses to rely on one another for emotional and physical support.

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          Shared hobbies also promote marital friendship, and the Journal of Happiness Studies found that marital satisfaction was twice as high for couples who viewed each other as best friends.[2]

          3. Schedule in Tech-Free Time

          Your phone is a great way to listen to music, watch videos, and keep up-to-date with friends and family. But is your phone good for your relationship?

          Many couples phone snub, or ‘phub’, one another. Studies show that phubbing can lower relationship satisfaction and increase one’s chances of depression.[3]

          Reduce those chances by removing distractions when spending quality time together and showing your partner they have your full attention.

          4. Hit the Gym as a Couple

          One way you can spend more time together as a couple is by becoming workout partners. Studies show that couples are more likely to stay with their exercise routine if they work out together.[4] Couples also work out harder than they would solo. One study found that 95 percent of couples who work out together maintained weight loss compares to the 66 percent of singles who did.[5]

          Join a gym, do at-home couples’ workouts, try couples yoga, hit the hiking trails, or get your bikes out. No matter which way you choose to exercise, these healthy activities can promote a healthy relationship.

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          5. Cook Meals Together

          Pop open a bottle of wine or put some romantic music on while you get busy – in the kitchen, of course!

          One of the best relationship tips for spending quality time together when you both have busy schedules is to cook meals together.[6]

          Spice things up and try and prepare a four-course meal or a fancy French dish together. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time together, but it also promotes teamwork.

          If all goes well, you’ll have a romantic date night meal at home that you prepared with your four hands. And if the food didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, you are guaranteed to have a laugh and create new memories together.

          6. Have a Regular Date Night

          Couples experience a greater sense of happiness and less stress when they are spending quality time together.[7] One of the biggest relationship tips for a healthy partnership is to include a date night in your weekly routine.

          The National Marriage Project found that having a weekly date night can make your relationship seem more exciting and helps prevent relationship boredom.[8] It also lowers the probability of divorce, improves your sex life, and increases healthy communication.

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          Some great ideas for what to do on your date night include:

          • Have a movie marathon – Gather up your favorite flicks and cuddle up on the couch.
          • Play games together – Cards, board games, video games, and other creative outlets are a fun way to spend quality time together.
          • Recreate your first date – Go back to that restaurant and order the same meal you did when you first got together. You can spice up your evening by pretending you’re strangers meeting for the first time and see how sexy the night gets.
          • Plan a weekend getaway – There’s nothing better than traveling with the one you love.
          • Dinner and a movie – A classic!
          • Try a new restaurant – Make it your mission to rate and try all of the Mexican restaurants/Irish pubs/Italian trattorias in your area.
          • Have a long sex session – Intimacy promotes the release of the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for a myriad of great feelings.[9]

          Here’re even more date night ideas for your reference: 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples

          Final Thoughts

          The benefits of spending quality time together are endless. Here are just some of the ways it can contribute to a healthy relationship:

          • Improves emotional and physical intimacy
          • Lowers divorce rates
          • Improves communication
          • Reduces marital boredom
          • Bonds couples closer
          • Improves friendship
          • Boosts health
          • Reduces stress

          These are all excellent reasons to start making date night a regular part of your week.

          It’s easy to have a healthy relationship when you set aside dedicated time to share with your spouse. Try new things together, make your spouse your workout buddy, and look for innovative ways to be close and connected.

          These relationship tips will bring great benefits to your marriage.

          Featured photo credit: Allen Taylor via unsplash.com

          Reference

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