A Manager’s People Skills Dilemma – What Would You Do?
by Kate Nasser |
Corporate practice traditionally teaches managers to praise in public and correct in private. When it is about an individual’s work performance, it makes sense.
When it is about handling patronizing, demeaning, or abusive people skills behavior of one co-worker toward others, managers and supervisors face a dilemma.
Do you offer the dignity of private correction to a worker who has demeaned other co-workers in public as in a meeting?
Do you handle it at that moment in front of those affected to afford respect to the co-workers and preserve morale needed for the work?
Do you expect the co-workers to speak up and handle the situation if they are offended?
Dilemma: Whose dignity and whose responsibility?
Managers, before you make a decision, consider:
- What will be the impact on the current interaction and work?
- What will be the impact on morale and future teamwork? Many overlook this question and focus purely on the current work.
- Are the co-workers truly empowered and skilled at responding to this honestly and appropriately?
- If the co-workers say nothing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not offended. How productive will they be in current or future settings if they silently fume over the insult?
I have heard many say that it is still appropriate to offer the correction in private because it minimizes the perpetrator’s embarrassment and makes it easier to change behavior.
An absolute rule like this in today’s diverse workplace seems short sided and ill-fated. Knowing your team, training them on honest respectful communication, and being ready to correct or facilitate will prepare you to handle this well.
From my experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach
What do you think? What other factors would you consider in this dilemma?
©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, has helped thousands of leaders, managers, and supervisors turn interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for teamwork session outlines, customer feedback, and footage to view.