Last week I was training a group of managers in coaching and feedback skills. We were talking about – rather, I was talking about – how they could use these skills to manage poor performance.
They weren’t listening.
Instead, they were saying things like:
“You just don’t know what it’s like in the trenches.”
“It doesn’t work that way in a union environment.”
“People don’t change.”
“It doesn’t work, so why bother?”
“Are those rose-colored glasses you’re wearing?”
The room was so tense I half expected to hear thunder.
I listened hard, and really tried to understand. (For one thing, my credibility was on the line.)
Then a man who had been sitting silently in the back of the room removed his glasses and raised his hand.
With just the slightest touch of impatience, he said,”May I say something?”
“Sure,” I answered.
“I have worked here for 38 years. I have been a manager for 35, and I’ve worked with a lot of people. I’ve learned one thing for sure. If you don’t do anything when you have a performance problem, it never goes away. It ALWAYS gets worse. The person gets worse, the problem gets worse, and morale
If you don’t do anything, things will just go from bad to worse.”
He sat down.
There was a long silence.
Is anything going from bad to worse for you?