- A senior manager was concerned about a staff person’s poor attitude toward a client.
- A partner dealing with a high-functioning professional with a poor interaction skills.
- Younger professionals who believe they are killing it when their managers want them to step up.
One Thing In Common
All of these examples are from different firms, so what do they have in common? Leaders assume that people know when they are missing the mark. Leaders believe that if people would pay attention, they would see how they are under-performing. Leaders suppose that people must be content to just being average. All of these assumptions are ruining people’s careers and making life miserable for everyone else.
Helpful, Useful Information
Instead of assuming that people know, what if you assumed they didn’t know? What if you approached them as one who had some information that would be helpful and they could use? Maybe that would make all the difference.
- “I realize the client didn’t give you what they promised, but you may not know of the circumstances. If you knew, I’m sure you would be more understanding.”
- “We really appreciate all you bring to the firm. The one concern we have is that your style makes it difficult for others to work with you. Is that your intent? Of course not. Let’s talk about how you could approach others better.”
- “You have a great growth opportunity in this firm. In fact, we want you to begin playing up. You know, take on responsibilities that are beyond what you have been up to now. We know you are capable.”
By assuming you have information that will address the shortcomings of others, you are likely to activate their motivation. Just don’t assume they already know.
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