While reviewing a 360 degree feedback assessment with a senior leader a few days ago, I was showing him the section where he rates himself and then his manager, his colleagues, and his direct reports all assess him on the same quality.
Whether the rating criteria was “Organizes work thoughtfully in a way that achieves maximum efficiency,” or “Creates an inclusive work environment where everyone’s thoughts are valued,” the senior leader consistently rated himself significantly lower than all, not several, but ALL of the other raters. His CEO rated him higher, his peers rated him higher, and his direct reports rated him higher. When I pointed this out to him, in his usual humble way he asked, “Why does that matter?”
The reason it matters is because he is incredibly instrumental in the organization, a mentor to many, and respected by even more. He is ready to expand his reach and to develop additional projects and everyone knows this but him. As a result, he is actually holding himself back, and in turn, holding back his own organization.
We all know leaders who are difficult to work with and who don’t see their own blind spots. These folks truly need to learn from their raters and work to build essential skills. Similarly, when we are doing a great job, it is just as important to recognize our achievements and to build on our positive attributes.
If you would like to learn more about 360 degree feedback, you can do so here.
Boo! It’s the time of year when we think about ghosts and goblins, spiders and bats.
A few years ago I attended a concert around Halloween with my family. It was meant to be scary — ominous music, eerie decorations, and actors who jumped out and startled people.
While I did get a jolt from all of that and it was great fun, that night I was more frightened by the workplace issues that I had encountered over the previous week. Yes, there are workplace issues that scare me even more than a random fake bat unexpectedly flying out of nowhere.
That fall I was able to work with my clients to solve the scary issues I’d encountered, and I enjoyed helping them improve their workplaces. Different workplaces have different issues, but every organization has concerns that need to be addressed.
Do you have any of the following issues going on at your workplace?
- A CEO or senior leader with an anger management problem who bullies and intimidates employees
- An employee who steals product or supplies from the company and acts like it’s the norm
- Staff members who routinely miss meetings, aren’t prepared, or do not add value to the company or the bottom line
- Colleagues who make suggestive or inappropriate comments, creating an uncomfortable work environment
- Deadlines that are so aggressive that it’s impossible to meet them
- Employees who don’t receive coaching, training, or anything to improve, yet remain in the organization for 5,10, or even 20 years without really contributing
- A board that is apathetic about the internal workings of the organization and acts as though the culture of the organization isn’t their problem
- Peers who are so stressed and tightly wound and their reactions so intense, that you are scared to confer with them
- Customers, patients, or vendors who make comments that are disparaging or abusive to your colleagues
Workplace issues don’t just impact the bottom line; they create stress and anxiety for workers that affect every aspect of the organization. What workplace issues scare you?
Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” If you are aware of any of the above, and you aren’t scared out of your Halloween costume, you should be! At Concordia Consulting we have solutions and we will collaborate with your organization to appropriately implement them.
We like to think that employees are adults, that colleagues will all get along, and that everyone will focus on the organization’s goals and be united, but that is not the case in many work environments. While driving to a conference, my colleague Donna Cutting and I discussed how problematic it is when colleagues are petty or hostile with one another and how often that relationship must be mended before we can do even greater systemic work.
We realized that as HR consultants we have performed interventions when ongoing conflicts between colleagues, and sometimes customers, start to infiltrate other staff relationships or even the organization as a whole. After learning how similarly Donna and I approach these situations, I wanted to share the process with my readers. I hope that you don’t have petty or hostile situations to contend with, but the law of averages tells me that some of you do!
Enlist the help of the most senior leader and get support for handling the problem. Tell the senior leader, nicely, that he/she is contributing to the situation by allowing it to continue. Remind the senior leader that there’s no need to be harsh, but that doing nothing has allowed the problem to simmer and be contagious.
Talk to the quarreling employees individually. This is often referred to as the Discovery Stage. Have each one answer the following questions:
- How are you contributing to the problem? This is important since it requires self reflection.
- How does having this type of a conflict in your organization reflect poorly on you as a leader of the organization?
- How is this situation impacting other staff members?
- What would you do if a family came to you in this situation? Would you be more understanding if this was happening with someone close to you?
- Listen to their side longer than you may want or find necessary.
- Tell them that this behavior will not be tolerated and that you are going to interview others.
Interview others. Some of these interviews may be short, BUT it puts all parties on notice that they need to be a part of the solution and not contribute to the problem. They will also see that you are there for them and involved. Ask the following questions:
- How are you contributing to the problem?
- How do you think this situation is impacting other staff members?
- How does this situation reflect poorly on those involved?
- Tell them directly to stop any enabling behaviors and related gossip.
- Role model things they can say, like “I’m sorry you are feeling this way, but I think we need to all work together”, “Let’s give her some grace and latitude”, “We would be understanding if this were someone else,” or “This is hurting our group/our organization.”
Meet with each of the quarrelers individually again and say things like:
- “You are a role model.”
- “Other staff members say that this is a problem and it is impacting them in this way …”
- “Stop! Not only is it impacting others, it’s also impacting your career.”
Meet again with the employees together.
This meeting will go fast (15 minutes). They likely will both be annoyed, embarrassed, angry or horrified to be there. You can have them write a simple document and sign it. If you uncover bigger issues, the most senior level person in the organization should attend.
Good luck! And let me know if I can help you develop a process customized for your organization. In tricky employee relationships, ignorance is not bliss and effective leaders do intervene.