Recent incident –
In the community I live in, we had meeting to discuss crucial issues. Within no time, the meeting turns into name calling and swearing session. And this is not the first time. All are so-called educated. Almost all work for most reputed global corporations. They all have international working experience. All are experts in indirect lingo of corporate life. Remember – these are also well trained management professionals. And the ones who read self help books extensively. And into spiritual pursuits.
I can imagine that meetings at their respective work places also can not be different. There may not be yelling. But real issues are seldom discussed. All are avoided and nothing is resolved. In the community where they live, they can shout because there is no threat to their paycheck.
Familiar story indeed.
Why can’t still conduct a meeting properly? What did they really learn in the name of education, the corporate trainings and professional polishing they had ? Or was there something specific lacking?
The Root of the Issue and Way to Address It
Answer lies in the root. Rather – the lack of something at the root. The right emotional training in childhood. Due to this, the ones with issues, complain it inappropriately. The one at the receiving end, can not handle criticism. Both sides contribute to the snowball.
From professional life perspective, nothing can be done about emotional training at childhood of life. But about the childhood of professional life ? Certainly it has to be addressed.
Now look at you new joinee trainings.What the set of trainings your new joinee goes through?
- Induction program – About organization, tools of day to day use
- Mandatory legal trainings
- Then team induction and directly jump into work.
At entry level, most of the trainings are about technical skills. The person is ready for next level after successful initial stint to be the manager. The person has grown and so did the ego. But the emotional insecurities still remain. And they remain forever. They burst out in critical meetings.
In a nutshell, it says that (a) If you have an issue bothering you, go to the concerned person and talk it out (b) Create safe environment to talk. Do not show emotions (c) Talk only the issue. Do not attack the person. (d) Conclude and get commitment – if situation is appropriate.
It can not solve the insecurities I talked about earlier. But provides tools to avoid triggering this and resolve the issues in hand.
Yes. It is good concept. But when to train your people on this? When they become managers? Or when they start their career?
The answer should be obvious.
- This should be among the first trainings.It should be in ‘professional childhood’
- Once the person is inducted into a team, make sure there is training
- Include role plays.
Not motivated enough? Your team is fine and nothing is needed?
Imagine – There is an employee thinks that the workplace is hostile from day 1. Once she suggested an improvement to a colleague and that colleague got offended and shouted back. Since it is not her business, she kept it to herself without involving the manager. She always felt that there is another circle of trust which she is not allowed to enter. Through hardwork, she got good insights and has lot of ideas to improve processes, tools and work product. She hesitates to suggest because others may take it offensively.
As manager you have no idea of additional potential of this employee. Team is generally doing fine. So you thought it is at optimal performance. Now consider what a training on critical conversations do to the team.
To Conclude …
The complete topic of emotional intelligence is a long journey.But this focused training on critical conversations will bring lot of relief in short term itself. Ensure that every one goes through this training part of induction itself. Those who have never been through this training, condition them through this. This can not solve the insecurities. But teaches how to avoid pressing the wrong buttons and successfully discuss real issues.
Ensure that members keep practicing this for few months among themselves. It will be worth it.
When there are serious mental blocks in the team, there is another technique I have seen working.
Any story to share about your experiences with team before and after such training?