Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Part Two
by Karen Sieczka
Last time we talked about the different signals your body language may give out. Now try this role-playing exercise with your team or colleagues. Have one person play the part of the boss and one the employee. Pay close attention to body language and posture as specified for each role. Then discuss the exchange.
Employee: I would like to discuss my performance and time with the company. Do you have a few minutes?
Boss: Well, no, not really, make it snappy. (Crossing arms, no eye contact)
Employee: (Employee sits down, slumping in chair) I have been with this company for the past several years and all of my evaluations have been excellent but I haven't gotten a raise the last four years.
Boss: (Phone rings, boss answers and starts talking with person on the line for a couple of moments and then hangs up writing something on a paper.) (Seemingly uninterested, fidgeting, tapping pen on desk) So what were you saying?
Employee: (Asking a question more than making a statement) I am asking you to consider giving me a raise.
Boss: Really? (Getting gruff, crossing arms) What makes you think that I have the money to do that?
Employee: (not making eye contact) Well, John has only been here for a year and he just got a raise.
Boss: Yeah, so, (raising voice, pounding fist on desk) it's really none of your business what John makes. Just because he got one doesn't mean anything. (Gets up, moves toward the door)
Employee: So you won't even consider it? (Whining and stomping foot) That's not fair!
Boss: Not unless you have some really convincing reason I should even bother to consider it. (Clears throat) I hate listening to employees like you whine about how unfair things are.
Points for discussion:
- Would you consider this a successful exchange between the boss and employee? Why or why not?
- What went wrong, in your opinion?
- How did the boss make the employee feel?
- What could have been done differently by both parties?
Karen S. Sieczka is the founder of Karen S. Sieczka Training and Curriculum Development.
Her background includes training, community education, research, and desktop publishing. Currently, she is writing Foundations of Leadership, a workbook on leadership development and has developed short trainings on employee enrichment issues. Sieczka also writes articles and tip sheets on various subjects including food, aging, literacy, and crisis communications issues.
She is available for freelance writing, corporate training, and desktop publications development.
Karen Sieczka may be contacted at http://home.earthlink.net/~ksieczka/ or firstname.lastname@example.org