Thursday, February 9, 2012

Criticize Employees with Care

Researchers at business consultants Ferrazzi Greenlight assessed the level of organizational candor at each of six banks by interviewing the executives. The researchers then related the level of candor within the organization to the financial performance of the bank. Sure enough, those banks where the executives were willing to criticize each other showed the best financial returns, including during our latest global economic crisis.
     A willingness to criticize. However, the criticism wasn’t targeted toward personal characteristics. It was targeted toward the job of the bank as a retailer. Other Ferrazzi Greenlight studies at fifty businesses over a three-year period supported the value of criticism with care. Based on these findings and those from other researchers, here are a few techniques to improve the financial performance of your retail business:
  • Coach employees to give caring criticism. “I might suggest,” and “Please think about this,” proved to be nice ways to introduce the criticism. “Thank you for the suggestion,” and “I assure you I will carefully consider what you’ve said,” are good ways to receive the criticism. Coaching is a process, not an event. Creating and maintaining an arena for caring criticism requires continuing diligence. Talk about personal responsibility rather than personal blame.
  • Hold team meetings with three people. Not all the team meetings, mind you. You’ll also want huddles and special events in which every salesperson, or sometimes absolutely every employee, is included. But the evidence is that caring criticism is better given and received in small groups. The limited size avoids a sense of people ganging up on an employee. Three people is a good size. The person receiving the criticism can receive two perspectives from the others. This is enough to bestow credibility on justified suggestions, but not so many that the target feels overwhelmed.
  • In larger meetings, assign one employee to facilitate caring criticism. This person should not be the leader of the meetings, whose attention is taken with the meeting agenda. But the leader does have a necessary role in the process working. Often, decisions must be made in a meeting and teamwork developed. Therefore, if the criticism is taking too much time or is taking an overly personal tone, the leader should ask the criticism coordinator to hold off. At other times, the leader will stop the meeting flowing forward in order to ask the criticism coordinator to ensure there is an openness to candor.
Click below for more:
Take Employee Suggestions Seriously
Fix the Problem, Not the Blame

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