What happens when there is a mistake or you disagree with a solution option? What is your habit for navigating, are you hiding problems?
A disagreement with the boss seems like an unlikely path to workplace harmony. However, problems swept under the carpet just mean they’ll be there when the carpet is pulled back and the problem reveals itself again.
Leading Sets The Example
Leadership means leading. Whether you are the boss or your average front line employee, you have a chance to lead.
Leading means navigation. Navigation means that things won’t always go your way. True for the boss and true for the direct report. It also means being open minded, considerate of others, and respectful at all levels.
In discussions of employee feedback, I’ll often ask, “If you were doing something wrong on the job for a day, a week, a month, or more, wouldn’t you feel embarrassed if no one told you?”
Feedback is not just another activity. It is a duty and likely a form of art. Practice is important. It isn’t simply the act of spewing out harsh criticism.
When there is conflict, avoidance and not knowing is the worst course of action. Being aware of conflict is the first step to minimizing any harmful effects. Conflict doesn’t have to become harmful. When well-managed, conflict may even be useful for future outcomes.
Challenging workplace dynamics and a lack of trust are often contributors to the act of hiding problems.
Employees will measure the risk of doing the right thing with the risk of the consequences of punishment before speaking of a problem.
Problems should avoid being about blame and actions should be targeted at resolution not punishment.
Workplace culture always sets the tone for how problems are managed and how employees will navigate each situation.
That is where you come in. Be a good role model and lead.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.