According to Kim Scott author of Radical Candor and CEO coach honesty at work – phrased and delivered in the right work – make us happier and more productive. She says that the idea is that you have to do two things at the same time: you have to show the person you’re talking to that you care personally about them, and that you also have to challenge them directly. She thinks that it is a mistake to care personally for the employee, something which in itself is commendable, but then failing to challenge directly. She calls this “ruinous empathy”. She also goes on to say that if you neither show you care nor challenge directly, than that is “manipulative insincerity”. Scott suggests that one has to understand how the employees are hearing what we are saying. I think this is an extremely valid point if we want us to have a two-way communication rather than a monologue.

Adopting such an approach does not necessarily take a huge amount of time. She says that the best feedback she has had always happened in two-minute conversations. I have to say that my experience has shown that this is very true. Sometimes the best encounters I had with employees took place at their place of work starting with a friendly tap on the shoulder but going to delve on an item or two raised by either party. What I found to be effective is to take immediate action following such conversation showing that you really heard what the employee was saying.

I feel as HR professionals this is an aspect we need to give more consideration to. The role of the Foundation for Human Resources Development in promoting effective communication with manager and employee, between the HR persons and employee, is very important. It was a good move by the Foundation when it focused on this topic in one of the recent HR conferences.