Direct With Respect

By Nancy K. Eberhardt on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 2:44PM EDT

So, how are the forthright conversations going?

Often we have the best intentions, yet we have not practiced new methods of engaging others for better results. This newness makes us feel uncomfortable, awkward and unpracticed – because we are! Yet to continue to grow our effectiveness, skill practice is critical. As leaders, we are constantly adding these potential “arrows to our quiver” that are built through practice and habit.

One possible tool for this comes from Jason E. Bingham, author of the recently published book, CULTURESHIPSM – The ACBs of Business Leadership. Bingham is a vice president for Trane North America, and his book talks about lessons learned during his career. His self-effacing and endearing manner draw us into his ah-ha moments, as he says early in the book, “I am a short scrawny guy with few talents”.

I don’t know if that is true, but I know I really like one of his approaches for success.

Trane has a set of principles that Bingham discusses and one of those is Direct With Respect or DWR. The DWR approach is detailed in his book this way:

 - I am going to tell you what is on my mind (direct)

 - I am going to try to tell it to you in the moment (direct)

 - I may mess up my communication, but at least I will put it on the table (direct)

 - My only intent is to help you, me and us (respect)

 - I am sure I am at least partially wrong with my perception (respect)

 - I need to hear your thoughts to get it right (respect)

Bingham goes on to actually give us potential talking points that incorporate these direct, respectful steps, including sharing your intent, speaking what is on your mind, hearing others’ thoughts and collaborating for a joint solution.

This and many other nuggets can be found in just the first 15 pages of the book. Arrows in your quiver.

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