When your employee just doesn’t agree with you?
Sometimes the hardest part of a review is when you know the employee doesn’t or isn’t going to agree with your opinion of the goals or objectives. Not only does this make it hard to facilitate change, but it can also make it challenging to rein in your own feelings about it.
We have different backgrounds, religion, politics and a whole gambit ‘of stuff’ that makes us who we are. We seek out other people who agree with us, it makes us feel good, it makes us feel counted. Because we’re all different we’re not going to see eye to eye on everything. (Side note: If everyone agrees with you all the time there is a problem!)
When we’re speaking with someone we disagree with we often feel compelled to point out our differences. This can lead to feelings of anxiousness, anger, hurt, but mostly it’s frustration. Disagreement makes us feel frustrated because that emotion comes from our own feelings of ‘not being heard’ or ‘feelings that this person doesn’t like us’ and that frustration creates conflict.
How do we make this process of employee review and feedback successful when that environment exists? Below are some steps you can take.
- Own your frustration! Understand that the frustration your feeling is your own. Your feelings create the frustration. Other people don’t create your frustration, you do.
- Find something you genuinely appreciate about this person.
- Withhold judgment and replace it with honest and open curiosity. Dig deep and decide to learn something new about that person.
- Let the employee know that your opinions differ and you really want to understand their position. Ask them if you can ask questions to better understand. You might just learn something new!
- Listen actively to the answers and ask for clarification when you don’t understand. Repeat an understanding back to make sure you’re on the same page.
- Don’t be afraid to say you’re confused or you need more clarification. Don’t fire out these questions like an inquisition. Lead with the intent of learning.
- Do not go into this conversation with the idea you’re going to change someone’s mind. That defeats the goal. The purpose is to hopefully have that person be more willing to share and want to discover more about you. This creates common ground both of you can work on together.
When you picture this process in your head, remember to focus on changing your feelings of frustration into a desire to learn something new.
If you achieve your objective, frustration morphs into appreciation and then appreciation into gratitude.
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