We spend a lot of time working out how to prepare and structure our conversations with others. Even thinking about how to manage their reactions, and our own. And that’s good right?! But when is the last time you circled back to the person you had the in initial conversation with?
It’s where you come back and say; ‘How are you since we last spoke?’. You check in – which shows you care. And then you find out what’s different since last time you spoke. Like – what have you been able to action? What’s worked? What hasn’t?
Let’s reverse this for a minute. Put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine this. Your colleague has finally built the courage to let you know, that when you don’t speak up in meetings, or in stand ups, that you appear uninterested and ‘judgey’. OMG that is not who you are! You let them know that you don’t speak up because you don’t think what you have to say is valuable enough. And other times it’s because it’s too hard to get a word in.
You don’t speak up out of your own insecurity. Not because you think you’re better or don’t care. It’s been a good conversation to understand each other’s perspective.
At the next meeting, with your heart racing and your palms sweating, you offer a suggestion about how to solve a technical issue. You did it. You spoke up. You’re so proud of yourself right now. You do a little secret high five with yourself. Your colleague (who gave you the feedback), who was in the meeting, says nothing. At all. Not after the meeting or ever again. It took all your courage to rise. All you wanted was a “well done”.
Having the conversation in the first place is not the finish line. It’s the start of open-ended dialogue. Where you can both keep discussing the things that need to be spoken about.
It’s also an opportunity to give credit where credit is due. Did you give them the recognition for the changes they have made? Tell them you see that they are trying or have improved?
Or have you held them to account on the thing they said they would do and haven’t?
It’s a really BIG opportunity to check in about what they are thinking, what they have altered or worked on. To hold them to account on your agreements. And to let them know what you have been seeing that’s better. To give them the accolades where they are due.
I would even finish your initial conversation with the expectation to chat about this again in 2 weeks or 4. But if you forgot to do that. That’s fine. You can just shoot them an email now and say hey: “Let’s circle back on the conversation we had. I’m keen to know where you are at. How does Thursday at 3 work for you?”.
Go on. Do it now. The hard bit was starting the conversation. The powerful bit is in the continuation.