I was facilitating a retreat last week and Nida, a participant, told me that her manager makes her absolutely crazy. As Nida described her manager, Adam, he did indeed sound like a jerk.
Adam sent directions for all of Nida’s tasks via email. Even when starting a new project that would last for months, Nida learned about the project via email. This would have been understandable if the two were across continents or time zones; in actuality, they sat across the hall from one another.
But that’s not all. Adam never recognized Nida; he didn’t tell her thank you for her work. As I questioned this, Nida twisted her computer screen so I could see it. Just as Nida said, there were a slew of messages from Adam, yet none of the completed tasks received a thank you…not even a “thx.”
Nida shared all the injustices with me. Adam piled on the work. He didn’t care about her as a person. He never offered appreciation. He didn’t recognize all the work Nida was performing. He didn’t want the office coverage to suffer so he never allowed Nida to take a Monday or Friday off; those were the days Adam saved for himself.
After listening and verifying Nida’s impressions with others in the organization, I learned that what Nida was alleging was true, or at least nearly true.
Nida said to me, “Can you fix Adam? After all, that is what you do, right?” She continued, “Can’t you write him up? Can’t you get him fired?”
Actually, I had to tell her, “No, I cannot.” One of my coaching colleagues says often, “There’s no law that says managers need to be considerate or kind. While it is the best practice, what’s acceptable in one organization may not be tolerated in the next.”
While I do try to help every level of employee to be more relational, more appreciative, and more collaborative, unless the organizational culture supports and sometimes demands a collaborative work environment, little if any change will occur.
When we stay in toxic environments, most of us become toxic ourselves. I know that has become true for Nida. She complained a lot, moved from task to task slowly, and completed her work always doing the minimum.
How about you? If you are so miserable, why are you still there?
Today my yoga instructor, Emily, asked if we would like her to walk around the room and make adjustments. Later, she came to my mat and calmly, quietly, and gently touched my hands, guiding them longer and straighter. She removed her hands as calmly and gently. I noticed that it was easy to hold my hands in the position Emily placed them in.
Afterwards I thanked Emily for the class and the adjustment, and remarked that after she removed her hands I continued to feel the positive energy.
Think about feedback at work in the same way as making an adjustment in yoga; sometimes it is just the guidance and encouragement you need.
For more thoughts see The Gift of Feedback.
If you are in business and you want to make a point, lighten up.
A few weeks ago I wrote that the more serious the topic, the more humor is needed.
A grocery store in Vancouver understands, and they are using humor to make their point.
Humor is the way they are promoting their business and helping the environment. In order to get customers to stop using single-use plastic bags, they have printed embarrassing bags. They are “playing” with their customers and teaching them to remember:
I can hardly wait to see what they will do with their single-use plastic bottles! I bet that’s next.
What businesses have you seen use humor effectively?