With terrorism a matter of acute public concern, the latest in our Voices at Work series focuses on one of the roles in the front line of keeping us safe.
Voices at Work – The Investigative Interviewer
Neil Brewster is an investigative interviewer. If you wanted to be more sensational about it, you’d call him a professional interrogator. He is a former military intelligence operator who now runs a consultancy service for clients who place a premium on the honesty and integrity of the information provided by people. Neil carries out investigative interviews for his clients and also provides them with training and coaching in how to do it themselves. He is an expert in his field, having conducted investigative interviews in a wide range of contexts from counter-terrorism to human resource management, from the high stakes to the everyday, from interviewing terrorist suspects and incident debriefing to security vetting and assessing candidates for job selection.
What does good feedback sound like? What voices, or ways of expressing yourself, do you need to enable feedback to be both critical and constructive? How can you give better feedback that’s likely to make a difference?
Let’s start with an example of how not to to do it.
I used to work with a manager called Jimmy and one day, glancing out of the window while we were in a meeting together, he suddenly said, ‘There’s MacTaggart arriving late again. I must have a word with him.’ That was on the Monday and the first thing that Jimmy got wrong was not giving his feedback promptly. I know that, because I was with him again on the Thursday, when he finally did. We were walking through the factory together to another meeting, when he suddenly peeled away and went over to the bench where the unsuspecting target of his feedback was working. ‘MacTaggart,’ said Jimmy sternly, ‘You’re getting a reputation.’ He accompanied his words with a slow, hard look. ‘Sort your act out.’
Each of us has a personal but largely unconscious profile of ‘voices’ which shapes the way we talk and the impact we make. We each favour some voices, and often over-rely on them, while neglecting others.
The effect is not only to leave us less versatile than we could be and need to be, but also deaf and blind to our own inflexibilities and to the consequences of some of our actions.
By bringing your personal pattern of voices, and its impact on others, into conscious awareness, VoicePrint makes your personal, inter-personal and organisational skill-set more complete, more agile and more effective.