Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to give constructive feedback to a co-worker, client, or business associate, but felt hesitant because you were concerned about how they would receive it? If so, I have a communication game that may be helpful to you: "Green Light, Red Light, Green Light."
Think back to your childhood and the game of "Red Light, Green Light." In this game, one person is designated as the traffic light and the other players must stop or go based on the traffic light's commands. Now imagine a communication game based on this concept that can help you navigate difficult conversations with others.
Here's how it works: Let's say you have a co-worker who has a habit of interrupting others, which has started to frustrate clients in meetings. You know you need to address this issue, but you're concerned about how your co-worker will receive the criticism. This is where "Green Light, Red Light, Green Light" comes in handy.
Green Light: Begin the conversation with something positive and encouraging about your co-worker. It could be something specific like, "I've noticed you've been coming up with some great solutions for our clients recently. I really admire your hard work and dedication."
Red Light: Next, provide the criticism in a direct and kind manner. Let your co-worker know that you've observed them interrupting clients during meetings and that it's causing frustration. Be brief and to the point.
Green Light: End the conversation on a positive note, again providing specific feedback. For example, "I hope you find my feedback helpful. You are a great problem-solver and a valuable asset to our team."
Using "Green Light, Red Light, Green Light" allows you to give constructive feedback in a way that is more likely to be heard and received well. Nobody likes having difficult conversations, but when done with kindness and encouragement, they can be appreciated and even beneficial. Give it a try and see how it works for you!
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC