How tactful are you?

boss giving feedback to employeeTake this quick quiz to see how tactfully you communicate with your team. Imagine you have something urgent to say to an employee. Put a check by each statement that you would consider before engaging:

  • Am I ready to present my message clearly?
  • Have I considered what the worker has done in the past and will do in the future, not just what I want done now?
  • What’s the most positive way to put this?
  • Will the worker be able to listen and respond thoughtfully?
  • Are there other people nearby who might make the worker uncomfortable?
  • What kind of mood is the worker in?
  • How does the time of day affect the worker right now?
  • What do workers’ nonverbal clues indicate about what I’m saying?
  • Do I know when to stop talking?
  • Do I review the conversation later, looking for ways to improve future communication?

Count the number of boxes you checked and find out how you rate:

10 = “Ambassador.” You take pleasure in saying the right thing, and people likely feel good about talking with you.

7–9 = “Vice-consul.” You usually put people at ease, but adopting the guidelines you left unchecked will help others respond even more positively to what you have to say.

1–6 = “Bull in china shop.” You may be causing more damage than you’re aware of. Try thinking more deliberately about the way your messages are likely to be received, and you’ll find that your co-workers will give you a better reception.

Difficult People D

0 = “Yikes!” You should consider a career as an ice hockey referee.