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I have recent hire who I am learning has an abbrasive tendancy to ask allot of questions to both myself an other collegues. This may seem normal especially for a new hire but what happens is he will ask several rapid fire questions about the same issue without even giving you a chance to complete your answer. I myself have experienced this and have found it to be stressful and rude. Furthermore I am hearing from other team members that he frequently engages in lengthly conversatons about project specifics with them which are taking time away from thier work.

During our feedback discussions he admits to being a bit hard headed but attributes it to his ambition and tenacity. I reiterated that he needs to be more sensative to his audience and respectful of others time. I also stated that I am letting him know because I want him to be successful in his position etc. What next? I've heard recently from others that the behaavior is continuing and he is quickly earning a negative reputation. How can I be more clear with this person without being demotivating?

TomW's picture

In your feedback sessions, what's his answer to "What can you do differently next time?"

WillDuke's picture

You said it yourself. He doesn't think he's abrasive and rude. He thinks he's tenacious and driven.

When giving feedback you have to focus on behavior. He doesn't let people finish their response. That's one he can't argue. What are the consequences of that? And then, definitely as Tom says, what's he going to do about it?

Remember to adjust your approach based on his personality. He sounds like a D. A D personality doesn't get sensitivity and respect. Your feedback there is wind in the trees.

I'd work feedback hard on this guy. Find some affirming stuff so he doesn't think you hate him. Help him understand you want him to succeed. Sincerely want him to succeed. You'll have a bulldog working for your team that will accomplish amazing feats.

MattJBeckwith's picture

I totally agree with Tom and Will. I'll only add one thing.

I have found that feedback to this type of employee has to be immediate and have discovered that as the minutes pass by the effectiveness of the feedback goes as well. Although it's always best to be quick, I think it's best served immediately to this style of employee.

You might find yourself giving feedback about how the employee receives feedback as well.

Mark's picture

Sorry I've been gone so long, folks.

Feedback, feedback, feedback. If he fails to change, systemic feedback.

This is all he needs.

It's good to be back.

Mark

RichRuh's picture

Mark--

Nice to have you back! :D

--Rich

lumpy095's picture

I am having a similar situation with one of my direct reports, both in his direct interactions with immediate team members, other departments and his clients. He is abrupt, rude, does not let anyone finish, is impatient, demanding and monopolises conversations and meetings. Having said all this he does get results.

I have give him feedback about his behaviour on a number of occasions, particularly his tone and approach to others. His response is that he can not be held responsible for how others interpret his 'tone' and if others are offended or don't like to hear something , he can not control this, but if others need to 'please' and 'thank you' and all the other 'feel good and fluff' he believes its time wasting but is trying to tone it down. Unfortunately it only lasts for a short time and then he is back to his old habits.

Its getting to the point where no one ones to work with him within the team. on projects etc and is taking up a lot of my time... Having said all that, he is actually one of my best workers...

Dani Martin's picture

Lumpy -- I understand what you mean when you say he's one of your best workers. If you want him to change his behavior, though, I encourage you to change your description of him as "best." He's engaging in these behaviors because he believes they're effective in getting results. The point of adjusting feedback is to show that the behavior isn't effective. To do that, you need to believe it's not effective. If you do, I don't think you'd categorize him as one of your best. I surely wouldn't.

jhack's picture

Dani is spot on. He's not one of your best. He's toxic. He will drive good people away. Long run, your total team performance will suffer, and that's what really matters. Let him know he's underperforming, and provide lots of feedback. Don't let him off the hook by implying that his good (writing, coding, whatever) gives him a free ride on the other dimensions of performance.

...and be willing to move to late stage coaching if his personality is more important to him than your team or his job.

John

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="lumpy095"]His response is that he can not be held responsible for how others interpret his 'tone' and if others are offended or don't like to hear something , he can not control this, [/quote]

Isn't that Horstman's 7th law from the other side? [quote][b]How You Feel is Your Fault[/b]
If you find yourself saying, “that guy/situation/boss makes me mad,” you’re wrong. They did something, and then you decided how to respond. [/quote]

If how I feel is my fault then, ergo, how someone else feels must, therefore, be their fault and out of my control.

On a more serious note, I concur with the suggestion of feedback, immediate and often, in both cases. After giving adjusting feedback that results in a temparary improvement are you then giving affirming feedback to re-enforce the changed behaviour?

Stephen

jhack's picture

How you make others feel is also your responsibility.

The key is this: each of us is responsible for our behavior. And we hold our directs responsible for their behavior.

No, you can't control what others feel. But you can stop jabbing them with an umbrella.

It doesn't matter why your direct acts this way. You're not a psychologist, and you shouldn't go there. The whole point of feedback is to get them to change without having to go into the "why" of their actions.

What you should explore in the O3's is what motivates them. Adjust your feedback so that it appeals to what drives them. Not the why which explains their behavior, but the what is it they want from their career (accolades, big pay, corner office, challenging projects, etc). Your ability to change their behavior is a function of your ability to provide or withhold those career goals.

John

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="jhack"]How you make others feel is also your responsibility.

The key is this: each of us is responsible for our behavior. And we hold our directs responsible for their behavior.

No, you can't control what others feel. But you can stop jabbing them with an umbrella. [/quote]

I mostly agree with you, I was just making the point that a probable interpretation of Horstman's 7th law could be that "If people are upset by something I do that is their choice and therefore not my responsibility".

Most adults should be able to predict the likely outcomes of their actions, which will include the influence those actions will have on another persons state of mind and feelings. You can't be 100% certain as feelings are driven by a combination of the current situation (what you just did), apprehension of the future (what you or somebody might do later) and experience from the past (what you or someone else did in the past or they have been told you or someone else did in the past), many people have unusual, or at least unpredicted, reactions to specific things, their 'Hot Buttons'. As I recall in the Feedback method podcasts Mark mentioned the "Room of pain" (an anecdote about a manager who used a meeting room for O3s and found that all his staff get very stressed, afraid even, when he called them in there, he later found that the previous manager had used that room for delivering dressings down leading to it being called "The room of pain"). Before he knew the history of that room the manager in question could claim that he was not responsible for the fear taking people in there caused, however as soon as he became aware that the fear was associated with that room he could no longer make that claim. In the past I've had issues with bosses using the words 'authority' (the power to get something done) and 'responsibility' (getting a kicking when it isn't done) interchangably which has lead to my being particularly sensitive to their use and sometimes leads to me quizzing a boss as to which they mean (I also firmly believe that one cannot ethically delegate the latter without the former, mostly from seeing the results when someone has tried). Most people can, however, predict to a reasonable degree of accuracy the impact their actions will have, indeed the outcome of the behaviour that they are recieving feedback for may be their intent, hence tailoring the feedback for their DISC type. For example, a high-D may bawl out a high-I with the full intent of upsetting them so they'll toughen up or ship out (I had an RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major), in the Combined Cadet Force not regulars, like that and I've met a fair few Karate Sensais who follow the same model both in and out the Dojo). So you don't say "When you do that it upsets people" cos their response may well be "Good, I'm glad you've noticed.", you say "When you do that it makes you look bad." cos then their response may well be "WHAT!!!!!!! I can't look bad! It is vital to my sense of self that I am perfect. Gosh darn it, maybe I should change how I treat people so I won't look bad." So, you, the boss, have manipulated their feelings by choosing your behaviour (what you said) to evoke the emotive response that will get you the outcome you desired (a change in their behaviour).

Finally, if you cannot control how people feel how come we have industries set up explicitly to do so? Entertainment, PR and advertising are all set up to influence how people feel, in the latter two cases to do so and connect that feeling to a product or idea.

Stephen

skwanch's picture

[quote]I have give him feedback about his behaviour on a number of occasions, particularly his tone and approach to others. His response is that he can not be held responsible for how others interpret his 'tone' and if others are offended or don't like to hear something , he can not control this, but if others need to 'please' and 'thank you' and all the other 'feel good and fluff' he believes its time wasting but is trying to tone it down. Unfortunately it only lasts for a short time and then he is back to his old habits.[/quote]

Listen to the 'improve your feedback' 'cast . . . sounds like you have a High D on your hands and you need to customize your feedback to that profile. IOW, don't tell him that he's hurting people's feelings, tell him that he's creating a situation where people won't listen to him. He's proven he doesn't care about the former, but I'm guessing he'll care about the latter.

jhack's picture

[quote="stephenbooth_uk"] I mostly agree with you, I was just making the point that a probable interpretation of Horstman's 7th law could be that "If people are upset by something I do that is their choice and therefore not my responsibility". [/quote]
I suppose it is their choice. And it is your choice if you continue to do the things that upset them. Is that an effective strategy?

[quote="stephenbooth_uk"] Most adults should be able to predict the likely outcomes of their actions, which will include the influence those actions will have on another persons state of mind and feelings. .... So, you, the boss, have manipulated their feelings by choosing your behaviour (what you said) to evoke the emotive response that will get you the outcome you desired (a change in their behaviour). [/quote]

I agree. It's understanding what motivates them and then appealing to their motivations.

[quote="stephenbooth_uk"]Finally, if you cannot control how people feel how come we have industries set up explicitly to do so? Entertainment, PR and advertising are all set up to influence how people feel, in the latter two cases to do so and connect that feeling to a product or idea.[/quote]

I did not express myself clearly. We do influence others. I should have written, "No, you aren't responsible for what others feel. But you can stop jabbing them with an umbrella."

John

skwanch's picture

[quote]I mostly agree with you, I was just making the point that a probable interpretation of Horstman's 7th law could be that "If people are upset by something I do that is their choice and therefore not my responsibility".[/quote]

Such an interpretation would completely miss the critical point, namely that that law is about [b]personal responsibility [/b] and focusing on things that are [b]within [/b]one's power (such as modifying one's tone of voice/methods of communication/etc) rather than copping out by pointing the finger elsewhere (as in your example).

To paraphrase Mr Horstmann, if one doesn't understand that, one isn't smart enough to be a mgr.

(Yes, I know you're just arguing the point for fun . . . so am I :wink:)

bflynn's picture

You might check out the "Shot across the Bow" podcast. Although it sounds like he isn't being defensive, the shot across the bow may be needed to get his attention.

It would also be a good checkoff for you to make sure you're giving effective feedback.

Brian

lumpy095's picture

All,

Thank you all, for your comments and suggestions. I've been dealing with this situation for a while and lost focus so its good to get a fresh independent perspective to refocus ones view/outlook on the situation, and your contributions have definitely done this.

It's great to have a resource such as Managers Tools to do this.

Thank you all

Lumpy