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。”
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.”