Abrasive employees rub their coworkers the wrong way. The aggressive management style of abrasives creates interpersonal friction that grates on subordinates, peers, superiors and even customers, paralyzing productivity and disrupting the smooth flow of work.
These disruptive individuals also present particular challenges from the Human Resources perspective as HR professionals must deal with distressed employees who feel marginalized by them, as well as senior managers who are often reluctant to take the bull by the horns and rein in the abrasive manager.
Reactions to the idea that Democrats and Republicans sit together at the upcoming State of the Union speech have ranged from humor from Jon Stewart to cynical dismissal by Rush Limbaugh. I think the idea, while not the cure for all that ails Washington, does have some potential to impact the quality of discourse in our government, and the idea that seating arrangements are trivial is foolish.
I was working recently on a large IT transformation and the CIO told me “ I understand about the J curve, and the executive board gets the concept, but they will not tolerate decreased performance for very long. The real question is, how can we make the curve as short and shallow as possible? How can we sustain the change past the dip?”
The stress of complex change with big goals, tight deadlines and strict budgets can become too much during the “dip” in the J. Even the most well intentioned leaders can become frustrated because they feel caught between the high expectations they set to justify the costs of the change and the resistance or lack of progress they perceive to be happening.
One of the key challenges of teamwork and leadership is when to bring up items of concern and when not to. Should you give the feedback, or let it go? Point out the problem you see (that no one else seems to), or “be supportive” (and see what happens)? One obviously cannot bring up every issue that might be a problem. But in my experience people tend not to address items that need to be brought up, rather than the other way around.
As part of a large organizational change effort, a client of mine (“John”) was having a lot of trouble working with an external consultant (“Robert”) who was hired to assist with some technical aspects of the change initiative*. The client, who is a senior leader in the organization and had worked there for many years, thought that the consultant was arrogant, pushy, disrespectful and power-hungry.
“He really annoys me”, John told me. “Robert seems to have no respect for the fact that we have all been here for years and do know what we are doing. Yes, we have made some mistakes, and yes, we need to change, but who does he think he is? He is so condescending in his emails and other communications to us! All he cares about is looking important to the CEO, as if we were not the ones who will make any changes actually happen.
Sometimes the most important feedback is the hardest for us to hear. I have learned a simple way to give difficult feedback to someone is defensive or resisting.
How can you say such a thing!
My wife and I have been very happily married for over 25 years but have also had our challenging times. Many years ago my wife and I were meeting with a marriage counselor and my wife was giving me some feedback, which I was rejecting as as totally unreasonable and unfounded. Not only was I…
Feedback is the oil in the engine of teamwork: keep it flowing and the engine can operate at a high level with no damage, let it dry up and your engine could seize up or fail completely, potentially beyond repair.
Feedback is avoided for many reasons: fear of an emotional reaction, fear of retaliation, or the lack of a strategy for having the conversation…..
Wired Science follows up a story on which this blog commented several months ago. Accidents have dropped by nearly half on a London street where traffic signs, guard rails, and road lines were removed. The reason?
“The drivers slow to gauge the intentions of crossing bicyclists and walkers. Negotiations over right-of-way are made through fleeting eye contact. Remarkably, traffic moves smoothly around the circle with hardly a brake screeching, horn honking, or obscene gesture. . .”
In the Dutch Province of Makkinga, motorists drive around uninhibited by signs instructing them to stop, yield, or merge. They don’t have any parking meters to feed, red zones to avoid, or yellow lines to follow. Makkinga — as well as some other small towns in Denmark, England, Germany, and Belgium — are participating in a project implemented by the European Union to increase socially responsible behavior on the road. Proponents of this new lawlessness have a motto: “Unsafe is safe.” The thesis is that an unmarked intersection forces motorists to slow down and communicate with other drivers in order to proceed….
The business world is awash in technologies and tools that promise to enable us to work smarter, faster, more productively, and with more people — whether they’re colleagues across the company or around the world. Many new technologies are pegged as collaboration solutions or communications tools — like video and web conferencing, instant messaging, file […]