Digging in the Dirt

Digging in the Dirt – By Arnie Wohlgemut

There he was, the supervisor, going on a rant AGAIN – all of which happened in the past and had been resolved.  If I only could read the staff team’s mind!  It certainly was written all over their faces.

“Let it go!”
“Not again!”
“Give it a break!”
“How is this going to help?”
“What an ….!!”

One the most damaging habits a manager or supervisor can have is ‘digging in the dirt’.

Yes, bringing up the past!  Over and over again.

Good managers, managers who want to grow and improve their skills in team building, can incorporate some habit changes that will make a huge difference in their leadership:

  1. Learn to deal with the issue or behaviour in a clear and direct manner – once.  The only thing that should ever be brought up is praise and acknowledgment of the change in behaviour and performance.
  2. Learn where and when to vent.
    • If you are an external processor, never vent in front of the team.  I understand the need to talk it out so find someone else who can listen without judgement.  Trust me, it will be the best thing that you ever do.  I always had someone in HR who would lend an ear.
    • If you’re an internal processor, take a short walk, leave the room, get a coffee, juice or water.  Let the emotions settle before taking the next step.
    • Never vent in public.  Doing this in a social setting or on social media will damage your good reputation and that of your organization.  Keep your reputation strong by learning to vent in places that are safe.
  3. Learn to listen, there is always something to learn and sometimes your staff will solve the issue by themselves.
    • Stop thinking of your reply.  I learned this early in my career.  When I’m thinking about what I am going to say I don’t hear what my colleague says.  Stop the mind and listen – then answer.
    • Leave space.  I know, silence in a conversation is uncomfortable.  All of us feel the need to fill in the space.  But let it happen!  A moment of silence helps heads cool and helps you formulate a response that reflects your personal management style.

We will face challenges.  Our reputation and effectiveness depends on how we respond to them.