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专栏 - 向Anne提问

建设性批评被当作耳旁风怎么办

Anne Fisher 2014年11月14日

Anne Fisher为《财富》杂志《向Anne提问》的专栏作者,这个职场专栏始于1996年,帮助读者适应经济的兴衰起落、行业转换,以及工作中面临的各种困惑。
如果某位员工对同事的反馈意见无动于衷,你可以尝试将建设性批评意见与其长期职业目标联系在一起。始终记着,只有当人们意识到某种改变有助于他们实现自己的目标时,才会做出改变。

    亲爱的安妮:如果有一位重要员工对你的话总是充耳不闻,您会怎么办?我们又将迎来一年一度的年终评估,但对于如何评估我的一位下属,我却一筹莫展。他是一个团队的领导人,才华横溢,工作中表现非常出色,但对于其他人的意见,他却总是不屑一顾,甚至不给其他人公平地发表见解的机会。他的部分职责是人才培养,但现在,却没有人愿意与他一起共事,有几位颇有前途的年轻人曾对我说,如果公司不将他们调到其他团队,他们就会辞职。

    我也曾多次尝试与他谈论这种情况,可问题在于,他总是不屑于别人的意见,坚持自己的方式,而最终都证明他是正确的。所以,我很难跟他说他需要改变自己的行为,因为他总是能取得出色的业绩。我该如何让他理解我的苦衷?您有什么建议吗?——TOT

    亲爱的TOT:让一个人改变自己的行为,难度很大,这一点毋庸置疑。例如,研究显示,仅有约2%的员工反馈带来了显著的改变。有时候,保证员工有开展工作所需要的资源,或许有助于改变员工的行为,但你的问题明显与资源是否充足无关。你需要做的,应该是探究这位团队负责人如何看待自己的未来,以及他当初为什么选择领导一个团队。

    领导力培训公司Covisioning及《非舒适区:领导者如何将艰难对话转化为突破良机》(The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations into Breakthroughs)一书的作者玛西亚·雷诺兹表示:“如果你重复传达自己的信息,但无论你用什么方法,对方始终没有听取你的意见,这时候,你应该提出一些能真正触动对方内心的问题。告诉他,为什么你认为现在的情况对他不利。然后确定他对这个问题的看法。但首先,要搞清楚他的目标是什么。”

    这位团队领导人是否认为自己最终将进入高级管理层?如果是,你可以指出,帮助下属发展和成长是高层管理人员的重要职责——而他要想得到提升,必须表现出自己在这方面的能力。雷诺兹表示:“关键是要围绕他的长期目标开展对话。他要想实现自己的目标就必须怎么做?要以他为出发点来解决这个问题,而不是你。”

    你目前所面临的困难,很大一部分可能是公司绩效奖励制度的后果。我们见过有人因为技术能力出色被提拔到管理岗位,最棒的销售员被任命为销售经理,软件高手被任命管理其他开发人员等,尽管这些人都缺乏成为真正领导者所必须具备的大多数或全部技能。

    如果你的那位团队负责人也是同样的情况,雷诺兹表示,你的反馈被当作耳旁风也就不足为奇。她指出:“他可能收到了相互矛盾的信息。如果他因为出色的业绩而获得表扬和奖励,这等于告诉他,糟糕的人际交往能力并不重要。但同时,你却在告诉他相反的信息。但可惜的是,‘我们喜欢你的业绩,但你需要改变自己的行为’这样的话,无异于对牛弹琴。”

    Dear Annie: What can you do with a valued employee who ignores everything you tell him? We’re coming up on year-end evaluation season again, and I’m at wit’s end with one team leader who reports to me. He’s brilliant and produces terrific work, but he’s dismissive of others’ ideas and rarely even gives them a fair hearing. Part of his job is to develop talent, but at this point no one wants to work with him, and a couple of promising young employees have told me that, if they can’t get assigned to a different team, they’ll quit.

    I’ve tried many times to talk to him about this, but the trouble is, whenever he trashes someone else’s idea in favor of his own approach, he usually turns out to be right. So it’s tough to make the case that his behavior needs to change, because he can always point to great results. Any suggestions for how to get through to him? — Tired of Talking

    Dear Tired: No question about it, getting people to change their behavior is hard. Studies have shown that, for instance, only about 2% of employee feedback makes any noticeable difference. Sometimes, making sure people have the resources they need to do their jobs can help, but that’s evidently not the problem here. Instead, you’re going to have to dig into how this team leader sees his future, and why he’s leading a team in the first place.

    “When you’ve delivered your message over and over, and someone isn’t hearing what you’re saying no matter how you put it, it’s time to ask questions that get to the heart of how this person is thinking,” says Marcia Reynolds, president of leadership development firm Covisioning and author of The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations into Breakthroughs. “Telling him how you see the situation isn’t working. So find out how he sees it. Find out, first, what his goals are.”

    Does this team leader see himself eventually moving into senior management? If so, you could point out that helping people under him develop and grow is an important part of that role—and that he’ll move up only when he shows he can do it. “The key is to make the conversation about his long-term goals,” says Reynolds. “What will he have to do to get where he wants to go? Make it about him, not you.”

    Part of the difficulty you’re having now, by the way, could be a consequence of how your company rewards performance. We’ve all seen people get promoted into management based on their technical proficiency—the top salesperson who gets promoted to sales manager, the software whiz who’s put in charge of other developers, and so on—despite lacking most, or any, of the skills it takes to be a true leader.

    If that’s how this person got his current job, Reynolds says it’s no wonder your feedback is going in one ear and out the other. “He’s probably getting mixed messages,” she points out. “If he’s being praised and rewarded for his great results, that tells him his awful people skills don’t really matter. At the same time, you’re telling him otherwise. Unfortunately, saying to someone, ‘We love your results, but you need to change your behavior’ is not ever going to work.”

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