Someone once taught me a great skill: De-Personalizing statements in touchy situations to be more effective in communication. In other words, there are multiple ways to communicate but some ways are more effective than others.
Situation: Joey is an employee who doesn’t seem engaged in his job. You observe him avoiding customers and texting his friends during his shifts – instead of doing his jobs.
Bad example of communication: “Joey, why don’t you care about your job? You need to focus and work harder.” – even though a lot of this may be valid, it’s incredibly abrasive and probably won’t create bridges towards a solution.
Better example of communication: “Joey, we’ve gone over the policy around texting on your shift. When you continue to do this and you avoid customers, it makes me feel like you don’t care about this job. Do you understand how it might seem that way?….”
Bottom line: The phrase structure of “When you…… It makes me feel……” is a priceless, valuable, and engaging way to create room for discussion. Give it a shot, whether in your professional life or even in some frustrating situations in your social or personal life.