Are you being as directional as you need to be?

But before we explore if you’re being as directional as you need to be, let’s be clear on what I mean by being directional, why it’s important and what it isn’t.

Being directional does not mean micromanaging your team.

And it does not mean directing people.

When I talk about being directional what I mean is, are you setting clear goals and then aligning your efforts, and those of your team, to achieve them?

Being directional is about working collaboratively with people to agree actions and get buy-in: who is responsible for delivering what, by when. The more you involve people in the decision-making that affects them, the more you will get people engaged with the work and the required results. Being clear about the consequences of meeting, or failing to meet, agreed goals and outcomes can also be helpful. Being directional is also about moving things on in a timely manner.

So, are you being as directional as you need to be?

? Do you ever find yourself having the same type of conversations over and over again with the same people?

? Have you thought you’d addressed a performance issue only to see the same issue being repeated?

? Have you talked to someone about an aspect of their behaviour several times, yet they haven’t changed?

One explanation may be that you are not being as directional as you think you are.

I find people are often surprised to learn they’re not being as directional as they think they are. They believe they’re setting clear goals and aligning efforts to achieve them. But they don’t see the improvement they expected. If this sounds familiar, what might be getting in the way to stop your efforts from being more effective? Why are you not getting the results you’re looking for?

Being directional is one of the five key factors to having Savvy Conversations. Fundamentally, it’s about making sure your conversations don’t get stuck and that they continue to aim, point or move towards a particular goal or outcome.

To help you to be more directional and keep moving things forward positively, here are 5 tips for keeping your team focussed on what matters and performing well:

1. Don’t put things off unnecessarily.

The sooner you have the conversation you need to have the sooner you can resolve or clarify issues.

2. Be prepared to provide specific examples to illustrate what you’re saying.

Clarity is important for learning. By being clear about what’s good, or not so good. Your team member will understand what actions or behaviours they should focus on in the future.

3. It’s not always important to prove you’re right and the other person is wrong.

Instead focus on what will help move the conversation on. What will support you, as a team, to work towards your shared goals?

4. Involve others in decisions that affect them and agree clear actions and accountability.

The more you involve people in decision-making that affects them, the more engaged with the work they will be. They will be more willing to take accountability and ownership for delivering what’s needed.

5. Stay calm and focused, even when conversations become tense.

Try not to get side-tracked into irrelevant side issues. Move things on in a timely manner to maintain focus on what’s important.

I’d love to hear how you get on using these tips. Feel free to reach out and share your thoughts.

Directional is the D in the STREETCREDS framework outlined in my book Savvy Conversations: A practical framework for effective workplace relationships. If you’d like more detail about being directional, the key skills required and 12 Savvy Steps to being directional do check out the book now.


Want to know more?

Sarah Harvey is the Founding Director of Savvy Conversations Ltd and author of the highly acclaimed book “Savvy Conversations: A practical framework for effective workplace relationships.”


Linked In:

Twitter: @SarahSavvySarah

Instagram: savvysarah


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