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I have an issue with one of my directs regarding my inforcement of a basic company policy (such as dress code or attendance) and thier reaction to it. This direct was told that they could not do something since it was the company rule and making an exception would not be fair to the rest of the group. Since this conversation this direct, who is normally very social and jovial towards all team members, has ceased to speak to me. Although she does not react this way often this is not the first time this has happened. I have been trying to ignore it for the past few days and go about my business but her reaction continues to bother me. Specifically I am amazed at the lack of maturity that this indicates. Personally I want to tell this indiviual exactly that, that if they want to suceed in the business word, such highly imature behavior will not get you far. Unfortunately this individual, being passive agressive, usually fails to own up to any wrong doing. As her manager should I immediately confront this person asking 'what's the problem?' or should I continue to wait her out since she has the 'issue'?

andrewmullens's picture

If you look at the feedback model provided on MT you will have a great answer.

You can't give feedback about immaturity, or a bad attitude, and, it isn't neccesisarily your problem if your direct won't succeed in the business world.

Feedback is about reinforcing good behaivours, and discouraging bad ones. If this is a behaivour you want to see less of, and have a problem with, then provide feedback. Explain that actual actions, explain the consequences, ask how it can be fixed.

aspiringceo's picture

Andrews answer is spot on.
Give her feedback eg Mary, can I give you some feedback. When you dont talk to me heres what happens. ........ and tell her what happens and ask how she might do things differently.

bflynn's picture

Its fairly easy. Here's some ideas that might help.

Hey, DirectReport, I need to give you some feedback, is this a good time? Ok, great.

When I tell you about a rule and your reaction is to stop talking to me, it doesn't work out well. Its rude and its unprofessional. Additionally,

D - I don't see you in a good light and it affects your annual performance review. I understand that you want things a different way, but there are preset rules that I will enforce.
I - It affects our working relationship. I feel upset that if there's something that is bothering you, you don't feel comfortable bringing it to me.
S - It makes our working relationship less certain. It impairs my ability to recognize the important work that you do and means that I might not see how it contributes to what we do.
C - It impairs my ability to recognize the quality work that you're doing. It also shows that your mind isn't focused on your work and it just isn't the way we do things.

This behavior has to be changed. What will you do differently in the future? Ok, great. I'm glad you understand it.

No, you're not in trouble. I just had to let you know the consequences of your actions. Its a closed issue.

Sure this is an idealized version and its never quite this clean in reality. But I hope it illustrates the idea. See the feedback podcasts (#2&3?) as well as the DISC casts for more information.

Brian

quenfis's picture

Brian, that was a great use of the feedback model and the integration of DISC profiles. I had not thought of doing something like this based on the personality from DISC towards the individual. I am a High C, so when I got the "C" portion of your feedback, I stood at attention. Very effective. I will need to take a look at my use of feedback and try to place the DISC possibilities in there as well. Great advice.

bmillard's picture

How did you provide feedback on the rule she was breaking? She may be reacting to WHAT you said instead of being called on the rule itself.
I get this sometimes with my directs and my first instinct is to evaluate what I said and how I approached them about the issue. If I cannot find a reason (based on what I did or said) for their reaction then I provide feedback about their behavior. But, [u]one lesson I have learned[/u] is not to assume that their silence is directly related to what I have said.
Her silence may not be "the silent treatment" it might be her way of admitting she was wrong. Some people do become quiet (especially if they are normally the center of attention) when they have been corrected because they feel it takes them out of the spotlight. So, consider that she might just be stepping out of the spotlight to keep attention off of her. It might also just be that she has a personal issue she is dealing with that just so happened to coincide with the feedback you gave her. Sometimes as managers we are so sensitive to the atmosphere around us that we assume it is always changing because of something we did (or didn't do). So, be cautious about how you word the feedback, make sure the silence is really about the conversation you had. You might begin by asking her "is everything is okay, I have noticed you have been quieter lately..."
Then if she is dealing with something else she can talk to you about it. If not, she might open up to what caused her to be silent and you can use the feedback model to simply say that when she is quiet like that it it concerns you and, based on what she says the reason is, explain further the end result of her silence.

wendii's picture

Brian,

that was a fabulous answer! And so useful.

thanks for sharing.

Wendii

bflynn's picture

Glad it helped out a little.

Bev, I presume you've already given the feedback on the rule breaking and its a closed matter. Now, we're talking about the reaction to receiving the feedback.

I don't think the motivation matters. A person's motivation doesn't have an impact on me or the company, their actions do. Whether they're sulking or admitting they're wrong or just avoiding an unpleasant encounter, the external results are the same. I don't care about the reason they're doing this, I just want the behavior to stop.

Now - if you've had past experience with the person or they give an excuse, then maybe you work that into your feedback. But, the feedback is about the action, not the reasons behind the action.

Brian

mauzenne's picture

Brian and everyone else said it so well, not much to add here ... just remember, feedback is delivered as sweet as pie. No hint of anger, sarcasm or disappointment in your voice. Simply behavior and consequences delivered in a non-threatening manner. The comment about motivation vs. behavior is spot-on; if you start talking about motivation (i.e., "you're pissed at me for not allowing ...."), you're on a very slippery slope. The conversation may end up being nothing more than about your misinterpretation vs about the subordinates behavior.

Mike

juliahhavener's picture

Brian, that was just...beautiful.

*sniff*

bflynn's picture

[quote="mauzenne"]Brian and everyone else said it so well, not much to add here ... just remember, feedback is delivered as sweet as pie. No hint of anger, sarcasm or disappointment in your voice. Simply behavior and consequences delivered in a non-threatening manner. The comment about motivation vs. behavior is spot-on; if you start talking about motivation (i.e., "you're pissed at me for not allowing ...."), you're on a very slippery slope. The conversation may end up being nothing more than about your misinterpretation vs about the subordinates behavior.

Mike[/quote]

Thanks for that reminder Mike - its something that I always have to work on myself and I think that probably comes through in my writing.

Brian