FEEDBACKING IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS

It always gets interesting when the workplace gives teams some form of scenes and happenings that keep memories alive. There are attention-grabbing scenes of insubordination, authority usurping, power show-offs, shoulder-padding bosses, baby- raving bosses, intolerant-unforgiving colleagues, infighting for favour senior managers, never-do-much junior officers, drama-staging employees, corporate corner gossips, squabbling snitching support employees, ego-seeking middle-level line managers, goody-two shoes personal assistants, much ado-about nothing serious looking managers and excessively busy corporate politicians being busy with workplace current affairs. What makes the workplace ticks is the fine mixture of characters of the good, the bad and the ugly. As a matter of fact, I did some work on the workplace and I came to a conclusion that, nothing beats feedbacking no matter the situation. Giving feedback in difficult situations will obviously be a difficult process.

 “When employees tend to exhibit some or most of the negative workplace behaviours mentioned, line managers and colleagues must adopt unstructured feedbacking approach.”

To inch the discussion higher, giving feedback to a difficult colleague is not just a difficult process but an excessively tiring encounter. No matter how good or bad an employee is, a line manager must feedback him or her to get better. Corporate leadership researchers advocate that there is no difficult employee. There is rather a difficult boss. To expand the argument, the buck stops with the leader and as a matter of fact, everything rises and falls on leadership as hinted by J.C Maxwell. In effect, leaders cannot run from the word ‘responsibility’ at the workplace. It’s too simple to say that Kofi is a difficult employee so I don’t need him in my team. In some institutions, the line manager will say that Kofi is not helping my team so I would like to donate him. If leadership remains a complex phenomenon involving the leader the follower and the situation, leaders must take deliberate steps to inspire followers so to fix issues.

True leaders must act as Madam Theresa once said ‘don’t abort them, give them to me’. Good leaders must commit themselves to groom leaders no matter how difficult the situation is, by learning to give feedback in difficult times. Are there signs of difficult employees? Yes, there are! Difficult employees tend to be cynical, very abysmal and are rarely willing to take up tasks. Interestingly, most leaders don’t see the signs early enough, when they are working with difficult employees. Most often than not employees are classified as difficult when they repeatedly fail to work in teams and collaborate by synergizing to execute tasks,  when they usurp authority, when they consistently underperform, when they stick to lateness to work and to meetings, when they lose their sense of authority and responsibility, when they are manipulative and consequently disengage from work to consistently abuse workplace policies when they criticize without solutions and openly badmouth the institution and accordingly abhor organizational citizenship behaviours.

When employees tend to exhibit some or most of the negative workplace behaviours mentioned, line managers and colleagues must adopt unstructured feedbacking sessions with such employees. First and the key step is to choose a venue outside the office for grooming sessions.  It is not as though you are treating such employees special. The fact is that such employees are special and not difficult per se. leaders who understand them will always use them to churn out great results. In meetings with such employees, discuss their positives and let them know they are cherished. Use the P.S.P and keep questions open-ended.

This is Leadership!

Author: Richard K. Anhenkorah

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