How to influence colleagues' behaviour

29 October 2021
Autumn 2021

Whether encouraging effort or tackling poor performance, interactions with colleagues can enter sensitive territory, writes Steve Smethurst.

Business psychologist Andy Cole, a former Head of Learning and Development at Dolland & Aitchison, says that people find workplace conversations difficult when they sense that there is some impact on their status, a lack of control or autonomy, or a feeling of injustice. 

Compounding this is our natural tendency to avoid conflict, says Communications Consultant Moi Ali, author of How to communicate effectively in health and social care. “Many of us fail to tackle difficult issues such as poor performance, or colleagues’ attitude issues. We put off addressing them until we are forced to, but it’s always better –and easier – to face up to these problems early, rather than wait until a crisis point.”

Within optometry, difficult conversations might result from overhearing a colleague giving advice to patients or other staff around an unsubstantiated treatment, or noticing poor infection prevention and control, or a failure to gain valid consent to perform a procedure.

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