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职场

职场沉默不是金,正面交锋不可少

Megan Hustad 2011年11月01日

沉默是金?不见得!无论你是普通职员还是职业经理人,在工作中始终保持沉默只会让你付出沉重代价。那么,一旦因为出了问题而不得不与老板或同事正面交锋时,应该注意哪些事项呢?

    格雷尼称:“我们进行了30年的研究,结果证明,勇于进行关键的对话,不但不会削弱职场安全感,反而有助于提高安全感。所以,根本不用担心自己最终会被打上‘麻烦制造者’或者‘刁民’的烙印。”

    他发现,其实问题的根源在于对对峙行为本质的理解不够成熟,或者“认为自己必须要在坦率与尊重之间做出选择。简单来说,坦率直言就是不尊重对方。或者说,如果坦率地说出实情,必然会冒犯对方。”

    但他却认为,真正擅长正面交锋的人往往已经掌握了兼顾诚实与尊重的艺术。

    要想两者兼顾,并不在于多么巧妙的措辞,而是要聪明地提出问题。比如,如果你认为老板执行的一项政策愚蠢无比,有失公平,根本无益于你的工作。这时你要先问自己:“我该如何让对方接受我说的都是事实,并且让他们相信,我的出发点是为他们好,而我对他们本人非常尊重?”

    有了这个框架,所谓的二元选择(坦率还是尊重?)问题就变成了一个灵活、微妙甚至是有趣的情景。

    格雷尼坚决认为,这条建议与所谓“打一巴掌给个甜枣”的建议完全不同。不痛不痒的积极言辞对自己的情况根本于事无补,也无法帮助你扭转糟糕的局面。他说:“真正擅长关键谈话的人从来不会说一些虚伪的话语,因为这只会削弱对方对自己的信任。他们会直言不讳,绝不虚情假意地奉承、迎合。”

    那么,沮丧的员工到底应该怎么做?以下为一些小贴士:

    不要一上来就表达不满情绪。要表现出成熟的心智,对新政策的推出表示理解,明白它们往往凝聚了很多人的努力,不论其本身明智与否,目的是要解决或预防真正的问题,而不是用来无中生有地折磨人。

    明智地选择需要发言的问题。如果一遇到问题,无论大小,你都跳出来,这会让你的同事很不舒服。格雷尼建议:“别说‘我永远正确,特立独行。我就是要挑战公司的文化’这样的话。”相反,应该针对一两个能够从根本上改善自己状况的问题,发表自己的意见。

    做好充分准备。如果只是断章取义或“即兴发飙”,会让听者感觉缺乏尊重,而且会让自己的处境更加不利。

    是不是有时我们必须保持沉默?格雷尼表示,其实谈话产生完全相反效果的情况非常罕见,远远比人们想象的要少。“通常情况下,当我们与对方进行关键谈话时,如果他们出现抵触反应,这并非是因为他们性格上存有缺陷,而是因为我们缺乏技巧。”

    那么,如果我们实施了成功的关键谈话,会有什么收获呢?答案就是,给对方以启发,并带来真正的改变。格雷尼称:“一旦有人进入一家公司,证明可以以一种更有效的方式讨论问题,就会在公司内产生影响。或许这是一个缓慢、渐进的过程,但总比一直在痛苦中煎熬要好得多。”

    译者:阿龙/汪皓

    "Our research for 30 years now is consistently clear that stepping up to crucial conversations does not decrease your job security," Grenny says. "In fact, it increases it. So this anxiety we have about being branded a troublemaker or muckraker ... it just doesn't play out that way."

    The real problem, as he sees it, comes from flawed thinking about the nature of confrontation, or "a belief that you have to choose between candor and respect. In short, that candor means being disrespectful. Or you think that if you tell people what you really think about how things are run, they're invariably going to be offended."

    He argues, however, that people who excel at confrontation have mastered the art of being honest and respectful at the same time.

    Doing that successfully is less a matter of felicitous phrasing but rather one of intelligently framing an issue. Say your employer implemented a policy you think is stupid, unfair, and will hurt rather than help you do your job. Ask yourself, "How do I get the entire truth across in a way that the other person knows that I'm looking out for their interests, and that I respect them as a person?"

    With that framework in mind, what seems like a binary choice -- candor or respect? -- is revealed to be a situation that's supple, more nuanced, even interesting.

    Grenny is adamant that this advice is not akin to "give two compliments for every piece of criticism" type of advice. Making positive statements that don't reflect reality will neither help your case nor increase your chances of fixing a bad situation. "People who are really gifted at crucial conversations," he says, "don't undermine trust … by making disingenuous statements ever. They don't sugarcoat, and they don't give false praise and flattery."

    So what should a frustrated employee do? Here are some tips:

    Don't lead with the disappointment. Demonstrate that you have the emotional maturity to realize that a policy -- wise or not -- was implemented to solve or anticipate a real problem, took some effort to devise, and wasn't pulled out of thin air just to torment you.

    Choose your issues wisely. If you confront every single issue, your colleagues will start to associate you with discomfort. As Grenny advises, "Don't say, 'I'm going to be this self-righteous example of someone that's going to be so contrary to the whole culture around here." Instead focus on one or two conversations that could substantially help improve your situation.

    Be prepared. If you shrink from the full message, or if your unrehearsed, off-the-cuff remarks sound disrespectful, then you'll undermine your case.

    Are there times when you really should just shut it? Grenny suggests that situations in which the conversation could completely backfire are more rare than many think. "More often than not, when people react defensively when we broach a crucial conversation with them, the problem was not their lack of character, it was our lack of skill."

    The good news? If successful, stepping up to a confrontation could prove inspiring -- and create real change. "When somebody enters an organization and demonstrates that it's possible to talk about things in a more effective way, it has an influence," Grenny says. "It may take time, it may be incremental, but people don't like wallowing in misery."

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