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It Ain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It)

nautical tools

nautical tools

Sometimes you need to confront the other person head on, other times this just makes matters worse.

When managing a project or working with a variety of stakeholders, how do you juggle multiple viewpoints and conflicting demands?

Most work roles involve an element of giving help, advice or support, whether that’s supervising team members, working with colleagues from different departments or supporting clients with decision making.

Although what you say or do is important, how you say it is even more so, if you want to ensure your intervention doesn’t fall on deaf ears and doesn’t have a negative impact on your working relationship.

John Heron’s Six Category Intervention Analysis is a comprehensive model that identifies six ways in which you can deliver your message. Being more aware of what is motivating you to intervene and the effect you are having on others can transform your working relationships and communications.

John Heron was one of the leading figures in the Human Potential movement in the UK. Although he originally developed the model for use by counsellors and one-to-one developers when working with clients, it has been widely used in many fields – health, education, business and sales – to improve interactions and working relationships.

The Six Categories

There are two basic categories in Heron’s model – authoritative and facilitative – which then break down into three further categories. Each describes a different way of intervening in a situation.

An ‘authoritative’ intervention is when you are giving advice, information or direction, or challenging another person’s behaviour or attitude. You might be telling them what to do, giving your ‘take’ on an issue, or helping them avoid repeating mistakes.

‘Facilitative’ interventions are when you are building the other’s confidence to help them to express or confront their feelings or thoughts and work out the answers for themselves. This might involve empathising, asking questions, summarising and giving your support and praise.

Using the model can help you identify which styles you usually use and learn some different approaches that you might find more effective. It gives you a ‘toolbox’ of options, widening out your normal reactions and choices.

Having analysed your own style and extended the number of styles available to you, you will be able to improve your communication skills and have more impact in your dealings with others.

With greater awareness of how come you choose to act the way you do, you can plan difficult conversations in advance, reflect more precisely on the consequences of your actions, become more flexible and improve outcomes.