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Speaking constructively

Being a good listener when a colleague has things on their mind - being there for them - is a natural form of social support and helps to build colleagues’ resilience.

Sharing good news with others can also help to build relationships - but only if the news is met with positive enthusiasm. So sharing and responding to good news has to be handled as sensitively as when you are helping colleagues who are facing challenging situations.

The matrix below shows four possible ways of responding to a piece of good news shared by a colleague. Destructive responses obviously don't help, but it also interesting that ‘passive constructive’ replies do nothing to build relationships. What really works, according to the research, is an active and positive response.

Quick tip

Have a look at the matrix above.

  1. Reflect on the last few times a colleague, or colleagues, shared good news with you – however small.
  2. How did you respond? Which of the four boxes do your responses tend to fall into?
  3. Is there anything you might do differently in future?
  4. Write notes on your thoughts and conclusions and any immediate actions you can take.