The Necessary Conversation – Interview with Dr Linda Burrows

This interview with Dr Linda Burrows focuses on managers and the concept of 'doing a better job to support staff'.

Linda's top tips are:
  • Conversations between a manager and employee can help improve employee health and well being
  • It is just as important to have regular contact with employees when things are going well.  Giving positive feedback about their performance, particularly when things have been difficult, go a long way towards building positive relationships with your employee.
  • When a employee is absent from work, it's important for the employee to hear from a manager by having a verbal conversation
  • It can be difficult to make a situation worse, so long as the manager 'goes gently' and puts no pressure on the employee like asking, 'Why aren't you back at work yet?'
  • When an employee has been away from work, make contact just to say hello and see how they are - even if there is no new information to share
  • Managers should 'Just do it' – make contact with employees regularly to discuss difficulties or successes.
  • Employees feel hurt when there is no (or very limited) communication from their manager
  • Employees can negatively interpret the absence of communication from their manager
  • If it has been a long time since the last communication with someone off work, a text to ask if they are ok can be a good way of breaking the silence
  • When managers do not communicate with their employee who are absent from work, the employee can feel disconnected and this can increase the injury and cause the employee to be away from work for a longer period of time
  • "It will be easier once you've done it a few times".
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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.