Make Certain You Really Have the Associate’s Attention

Chapter 5 Pag’s 126-128 Lead With Love By Gerry Czarnecki

One of the great problems in giving feedback is making certain it is received. Most of us have a difficult time receiving feedback, and when we do, we only listen to what we either believe or want to believe. Further, we all have a tendency to believe only comments that are positive. Think about the last time you were asked to list your strengths and weaknesses. In all likelihood, you did a good job on the strengths and not so well on the weaknesses. The weaknesses you listed were probably qualities you actually considered strengths. Most of us have a difficult time admitting to real weaknesses, and if we do, we generally find a way to excuse them. We tend to do the same with evaluations.

 Think about the last time you asked an associate the question “Tell me about your weaknesses.” The associate probably answered with comments like “I am impatient when my staff falls short of their goals,” or “I set standards that some people think are too high,” or “I work too many hours in a day.” In all likelihood, the associate really believed these observations could be viewed by some as weaknesses but only if the behavior was extreme. In most cases, impatience is good when it looks for excellence, high standards are great when they challenge associates to achieve excellence, and hard work is a positive when it reflects an associate’s commitment to achievement.

In short, the comments really reflect pride, not weakness. In addition, most people have a tendency to block out bad news because they find it much more enjoyable to go through life hearing only good news. Worse still, because people often do not want to face negatives, they hear them but do not process them. Thus, a counseling session by a concerned boss can often be totally lost because the comments are heard but not listened to. The sound hits the eardrum but does not make its way to the conscious mind for processing. How many times have you shut out a speaker’s words by simply turning o” your attention? Your associates will do the same to you.

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