Dealing with negative feedback or failure is the most difficult, but often most rewarding, aspect of working with the situations life deals us. Each of us has been there before; a business deal falls through, the court decision is not favorable, or any similar unfortunate situation. To properly deal with negative information and augment situations, it is effective to use a model of communication and action constructed by the customer service industry for dealing with unhappy clients called L.E.A.D. The letters stand for: Listen, Empathize, Apologize and Do something. When a negative situation arises use the LEAD strategies as such:
• LISTEN – Have someone else explain the problem and really listen. Focus your attention on understanding the situation, probe for specific examples. Listening will help you understand not only the problem itself, but perhaps also areas in which you can improve to eliminate problems in the future.
• Empathize – Place yourself in a similar situation, perhaps one from the past. Realizing that you, as well as others, have been in similar circumstances allows you to feel more confident and understanding, and will facilitate positive progress.
• Apologize – A simple “I’m sorry” can be incredibly beneficial. Whether the mistakes made were personal or unavoidable, an apology serves to create a new beginning, wipe the slate clean, and start anew in dealing with the problem.
• Do Something – Action is the most important step in L.E.A.D. After analyzing specific problems you must cooperatively work with others to create a reasonable plan to improve the current situation and follow through with it.
The L.E.A.D. method of communication will assist in calmly finding reasonable solutions for those unexpected curveballs life tosses us.