Most companies underestimate how difficult it is to give and receive feedback. Many believe it’s easy to give someone positive feedback. Even giving and receiving kudos is off-putting, unless the culture encourages it.
Managers need to learn how to discuss performance with individuals directly. Expectations are rarely met without an ongoing exchange of information. Managers who complain to others about someone’s performance, rather than speaking directly to the person diminish trust and do not fulfill their managerial responsibility.
Offering honest, direct feedback, especially constructive criticism is the highest form of respect a manager can provide. The intent of the feedback is to improve the person’s performance. Why is telling someone what he needs to hear so difficult?
The company’s culture plays a big role. Feedback will happen in a culture focused on results. People in this culture take personal responsibility for their successes and failures. Desired results are clearly defined and there is little confusion about priorities.
Roger Connors and Tom Smith, authors of The Oz Principle describe the three values of Organizational Integrity; follow through, get real, and speak up. In other words, do what you say you will do; get to the truth; and say what needs to be said. Providing feedback would be an expectation in such a culture.
These values can help a manager in any culture provide valuable feedback. Get to the truth; involve the person in uncovering why performance is not meeting expectations. The manager can begin a mutually respectful conversation aimed at a mutually desired result. Listen to the person doing the job to discover the truth. The manager may find conflicting priorities, gaps in delivery or other environmental factors.
Say what needs to be said by focusing on the desired result, not the person. Staying focused on the desired result, clarifies the expectation, keeps the conversation moving forward and positive.
Follow through, simply providing feedback does not change behavior. Perhaps one reason managers fail to provide feedback is the false assumption that one verbal correction is all that is needed. Behaviors don’t change that quickly. Managers need to make sure the expectations are understood and achievable.
These values remind me of a performance project I steered. Hospital physicians were discovering potential adverse drug reactions (ADR) among their patients. Nurses were failing to record the ADRs. We raised the nurses’ level of consciousness about ADR through training. There was little change in documentation.
Later, we developed an ADR Star Contest. The contest rewarded nurses for documenting behaviors that could be related to the patients’ reaction to medication. Documented ADRs began to appear, and then increase. Physicians were discussing the documentation with the nurses and providing ongoing training.
The contest was a success and continued for more than a year. Winning the contest wasn’t what changed the culture. The contest clearly defined the expectation. The hospital and physicians wanted to see documentation of adverse drug reactions. It required the long term commitment of the contest to convince nurses of that expectation and establish it as a priority.
Actions speak louder than words. Whether managers reside in an organization of integrity focused on results or not, each manager can earn respect by following Connors’ and Smith’s values of integrity; follow-through, get real and speak up.
Right-To-Work is Law in Indiana
The RTW law became effective immediately and extends to all contracts entered into, modified, or renewed after March 14, 2012. The law does not effect current contracts until they expire, are modified, renew or are extended.
Basically, the law prohibits employers and unions to require an employee to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The law also prohibits requiring an employee to become or remain a member of a union; pay any type of fees, assessments or other charges to a labor organization, including a charity or other third party equivalent to charges required of a member of a labor organization.
Even if an employee decides not to join a union or pay dues, the employees remains a member of the bargaining unit, and the bargaining agreement will apply to the employee.
A union must represent all employees in the bargaining unit equally, according to federal law. The union must process all employees’ grievances and represent all employees in arbitration whether the employee pays dues and is a member or not.
The union may prohibit this employee from voting on union matters or ratification.
Employers should be cautious when making statements about what this law means to their employees, as it may be considered an unfair labor practice. It may be time to consult a labor attorney.
Download this newsletter – March 2012 eNewsletter