Recently I spent two days teaching front-line managers in an installation service company how to have effective conversations around job performance. The training included an approach that was new to the managers and thus involved for them a new way of thinking. Instead of telling, they were to do a lot more asking of questions and get the employee to take greater accountability.
At the end of Day 2 I turned the meeting over to the Director of Field Operations to sum up and close. He left them with a very wise piece of advice. He told them that since this is a new way of relating to their installers, it will feel unfamiliar for awhile. He told them that they may not get it right at the beginning but that was OK. “Your people won’t know that you didn’t do it perfectly.”
His message was spot on for the group because they had been trying so hard in the role-play part of the course to, indeed, “get it right.”
No matter what your level in management, when you first try out a new way of communicating, leading, motivating, etc., you won’t do it perfectly right away. Go ahead. Do it not perfectly. With practice you will become more comfortable and will do it better.
In the meantime, they won’t know.