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 staff member can help improve staff health and well being
  • When a staff member is absent from work, it's important for staff 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?'
  • Just say hello - even if there is no new information to share
  • It's important to have conversations with a staff member when there appears to no issues - just to check in and to give positive feedback
  • It's important to have a conversation with a staff member when there are issues to ask if everything is OK. But this relies on managers noticing that there are issues and making time to have the conversation with the employee
  • Managers should 'Just do it' - Just have the conversation with their employees when there are issues and when there doesn't seem to be any issues
  • 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, send a text to ask if they are ok
  • When managers do not communicate with their staff who are absent from work, the staff member 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.