Great managers aren’t content just to have their staff members crank out the same work over and over again, week after week and month after month. They want improvement. They’re looking to constantly follow up with their employees, find out what’s working, maximize those strengths and minimize their weaknesses as well.
This requires feedback. In the ideal workplace, employees and their managers would have a constant back-and-forth dialogue going, with employees regularly asking what they can do to improve in their roles and managers with answers at the ready. Sometimes, this idea manifests itself into reality. At other times, there’s trouble.
According to HR Morning, one of the biggest problems that many work teams have is that managers have trouble getting through to their team members with feedback. Tim Gould, editor in chief of What’s Working in Human Resources, noted that this can be worrisome for both sides – managers get frustrated when their employees aren’t listening, and employers stagnate when they don’t have the benefit of good feedback to help them grow.
“Nothing is more frustrating than employees who don’t listen,” Gould noted. “And most managers know the struggle of trying to get employees to follow their advice. Although it’s easy for irritated managers to point the finger at employees, the root of the issue just might lie in the way managers communicate with these workers.”
If you’re a manager, do you worry if maybe you’re the problem? That maybe, you need to be doing something different to ensure that your feedback gets through?
To help analyze the problem, here are four reasons that employees sometimes struggle to incorporate bosses’ feedback.
Fundamental differences of opinion
Sometimes, your employees don’t want to incorporate your opinion simply because they don’t agree with it. You want work to be done one way, and they prefer another. In this situation, it might require a sit-down meeting to iron out the parties’ differences.
Trouble with “information overload”
Employees often have trouble with feedback because they’re getting too much of it, too quickly. Some prefer to get one piece of advice at a time, so they can fully digest it and think carefully about how to incorporate it rather than getting overwhelmed.
A lack of specificity
Sometimes, there’s the opposite problem – not too much information, but too little. Maybe you’re not being specific enough about what you need from your employees, so they’re having trouble figuring out exactly what to do. If this might be the issue, the solution is simply to ask.
Failure to lead by example
The old cliche goes, “Do as I say, not as I do.” It makes sense in theory, but many employees are reluctant to go along with it. Simply put, if you’re telling employees to behave in a certain way but aren’t doing so yourself, it’s going to be really tough to influence people. Great leaders lead by example.