[b]Bottom-line:[/b] One of my directs has a past history with key people he needs to work with that is causing problems within the team. What do I tell him of what he's told me?

I took on this group about 6 months ago. There are 3 different offices put together by mergers that had a lot of trust/communication issues with each other that I've been slowly sorting out.

My latest adventure involves our product management team who is remote from me and the boss is my peer. I delegated my direct some cross team work on process improvement. He also wants to do some major work on his part of the development project. He has some communication delivery issues that I've been working on. Basically he comes up with good ideas and forgets about influencing people to use it versus cramming it down their throats! :cry:

I thought that was the reason they were ignoring him. But I got the product manager to admit that they don't trust him because he's gone behind their back or implemented to the letter of the law but not intent or done what they thought was sub-quality work. When I ask for specific examples, they couldn't give them or they were years ago.

I've convinced them to travel here to work out the plan for the next work done by my direct in about a month. I am not sure exactly what to tell my direct. I personally like to be up-front that he needs to work on his relationship with them and that this is part of his reasons for not being able to influence them. I don't know if I should be so blunt as to tell him that their basic goal is to avoid him doing anything on the project and any contact with him. My concern is that he's a pretty high "C" and I don't perceive him has having good interpersonal skills. So, telling him might just make him angry. Right now he's in total denial that he's doing anything wrong. I just keep pushing that what he's doing isn't working and that I don't care if he's their best friend but he needs to figure out a way to communicate with them to effectively do his job.

I did listen to the podcast on getting feedback from your directs and have done the steps up to giving him the feedback. Now, I'm wondering what to tell him about their feedback. (I did ask if they would be comfortable talking to him directly and got a resounding no! :cry:

bffranklin's picture
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I think you've got two issues here -- there's a perception issue that your peer has, and a definite communications issue that your direct has. The latter will probably be easier to address than the former. The latter is simply a matter of continuous feedback.

Given that you can't control your peer and you don't want your boss to handle the perception issue for you, I'd suggest encouraging (read: assigning) your direct the job of overreporting to your peer. Make sure your direct is the most proactive and transparent member on your peer's team. Then see if the peer is just blowing smoke or there's an actual issue.


asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Sunshine

Have you listened to the podcast May 1, 2006 about receiving feedback on your directs? This might not be "feedback" that you are receiving.

Also, if you have given your direct feedback a couple of times and just received push back, it is time to get into some heavy duty coaching. You have fired the shot across the bow and your direct has chosen to not respond. Now you show him the consequences. Implement a coaching plan immediately to start modifying his behaviours.

You may or may not want to tell your peer that this is the action you are taking to help ensure that your direct's performance will improve. Also, if you are now doing one on ones with him and communicating regularly with your peer, you can react much more quickly to any "perceived" issues doing the project.


MsSunshine's picture

[b]QUESTION: [/b]How directive do you get when someone just isn't picking up on the feedback?

Thanks for the great hints Brandon & RNTT.
Brandon - I really like the idea your idea of telling him to over communicate to them. I also think I'm going to tell him it has to be verbal - even though there is a 3 hour timezone issue.

But I'm also wondering if I'm doing feedback well. I'd really like him to figure out what to do. But he seems to be refusing to realize that he has a problem. First, I have been doing 03's for about 6 months and followed the model of no correcting for the first 3 months or so. Before me, the team had a really bad manager and a lot of issues between the offices.

In the last 3 months, I delegated a task to him that required him to communicate well (having perceived that this was a problem with him). I've been ratcheting up the feedback as things progressed. But I'm not sure how directive I should get if he just doesn't get that he has a communication issue. (Note that his last review from the previous manager said that he used email at times where he needed to make personal contact so I'm not the first one!)

[b]Really gory details[/b]
Here's what I did for the feedback which I think is going to get me where I want to go.
-I gave him 2 weeks to plan. His plan had him collecting information for 3 weeks.
-When he did it all through email and threw up his hands saying they didn't respond, I did feedback on that. He'd send out a reminder email and maybe call some people. I thought would fail but I wanted him to try it and realize himself what he needs to do.
-The next week at our 03, he said that they still didn't respond and he called the people he has good relationships with - but not the people he really needs information from. I told him I needed it done, he needed Product Management buy-in and what else was he going to do. So, he set up a demo meeting with the whole group to show what he's already done and get feedback.
-At that demo, they made a comment about having given requirements that this didn't match. His response was that he thought this was better, etc. At our 03 later, he said it wasn't his fault, they are stuck in a rut, etc. I told him that as a senior person, it is a requirement of his level to be able to influence people. He needs to convince them that what he wants to do is the best thing for the product. I told him that he needs to go back individually and talk to them to address their issues.
-My plan for the next 03 is to ask if he talked to them. If not, I'll give him feedback on communicating and influencing people. I'm going to tell him that he can't change them but can only change what he does. I'd tell him that I'm going to coach him on this.

I'm am concerned that he still doesn't really think this is his problem though! I really wanted him to try lots of things and see that they don't work and think he need to change HIM not keep blaming them.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Sunshine

Sounds like you are doing some good things. In the MT model, coaching isn't something you necessarily do - it is a plan and resources you allocate for the direct to do with some metrics so you can map his/her progress.

For example, if you feel the direct is really in need of a social skills booster, you might have them enroll in a Toastmaster's club and get some training relatively low cost but over a longer term.

Or you might say, this direct is really valuable and we need some bang for the buck and fast improvement, so you enroll them in the MT Effective Communication conference.

Or perhaps you go somewhere in the middle and enroll the direct in an in house program or a Dale Carnegie type course. The point being you direct the coaching, but unless that is your expertise, you don't deliver it.

Hope this is helpful.


bffranklin's picture
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In another thread ([url] Mike said to tell a C with interpersonal issues that:

[quote] 1. builds walls between her and her teammates, reducing her ability to gather additional information that ensures her work is accurate and correct
2. causes others to see her behavior as unfair or inconsistent with defined rules of behavior
3. reduces others' perception of her work, leading them to trust the accuracy and thoroughness of her work
4. makes you wonder about giving her specific assignments, that although intellectually and analytically challenging to her, require that she work effectively with others

I'm sure you get the point ... the consequences of her actions must be meaningful to *her*. The fact that her relationships suffer in itself will not particularly concern her.

And remember, you're the boss! Telling your direct that this is necessary or a goal tied to their performance review is completely acceptable.

jhack's picture

And as long as he behaves effectively, it doesn't matter whether he thinks this is a problem.