Last Post 0f 2007. Happy Holidays!!!

Today is Friday, so this post is on interpersonal competence.  Actually, it’s Thursday, but I’m beginning my holiday tomorrow, so I am posting it today. 

Interpersonally competent people are good at building relationships and at resolving conflict positively.  I often urge my coaching clients to use “I statements” as a way of providing feedback that will enhance, rather than detract from a relationship, and as a way to resolve conflict positively.

There is a simple script for using “I statements.”  It goes like this:

  1. When you do _____________________.
  2. I feel ____________________________.
  3. In the future, I wish you would ____________________.
  4. Because I think it would _________________________.

The other day, I was reading Managing Upward by Patti Hathaway and Susan Schubert and I was impressed with their take on the “I statement” formula.  They call it the DASS (Describe, Acknowledge, Specify Show Benefits) script.  Here’s how it works.

  1. Describe the exact behavior you find bothersome.  “When you…”
  2. Acknowledge what you feel about the behavior or situation.  “I feel…”
  3. Specify a different behavior that you would prefer.  “What I would prefer…”
  4. Show the benefit to you and the other person.  “If you do this…, we will get this…”

They give an example of poor feedback, followed by an example of better feedback using the DASS model.

Poor feedback: “You never start and end meetings on time.  You make me so angry I could scream.  Why don’t you learn how to run a meeting?”

DASS feedback: Describe “When our staff meetings end late, I am late for my next appointment.”  Acknowledge “I feel frustrated and rushed the rest of the day.” Specify “I would prefer is we would stick to the scheduled beginning and ending times for our staff meetings.” Show Benefits  “That way we will all be able to make better use of our time and increase our productivity.

The common sense point here is simple.  Use “I statements” or the DASS model to give feedback.  If you do, you’ll build strong relationships and be able to resolve conflict positively.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leadership and running a small business and to get an ebook version of my book 4 Secrets of High Performing Organizations.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

PPS: This will be my last post until Monday, January 7 2008.  Cathy and I are taking off some time to visit with family and relax these next two weeks.  We wish you a happy holiday season; and we hope that 2008 brings you peace, health, happiness and prosperity.

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