No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Let Them Tell You

Here’s a technique that’s so simple leaders seldom use it: Let them say what they’ll do. Then hold them to it.

I use this in most disciplinary situations, but it works other places too. When I have to discipline, I first tell the person why we’re talking - for example, “Packaging Line Two was idle for most of the morning yesterday because you were absent from your mill.” Note that this is a simple statement of what the bad thing was and what I believe the cause to have been.

I then ask them to explain, and listen while they do so. I may ask a few questions to clarify my or their understanding. And then I ask what they’re going to do to prevent a recurrence. We agree on something that should work, and then I ask them to write it down and sign it.

Only then do I talk about consequences, for this occurrence and the next. Consequences are completely separate from solutions, and probably less important.

The reason I like this method is that in all future cases we talk about a commitment that person made, not orders I gave. It eliminates a lot of the conversation right from the start. 

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