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Friday, June 12, 2009

Correcting Your People, "Carpet Bombing"-Style

Yesterday, I wrote about leaders who lavishing their praise on the whole team regardless of whether all the team members deserved it. Today, it's the flip side -- carpetbombing, or a broad, general attack on the whole team when, in reality, the leader's correction really only applies to one or a few of the team members...and he or she just tries to avoid the confrontation.

I would love to say I've never done this, but...I can't. In fact, I did this very thing in the past year. I made a correction to my whole team when only one person needed to hear it. Thankfully (although I didn't enjoy it at the time) another of my team members, "Ella" called me after the meeting where I had applied the "correction". She said, "Did I do ________? I don't remembering doing that." I then admitted that I had "carpet bombed" the team and that "Sue" really was the only person who needed to hear my correction. Then Ella rightly said, "Well, then why did I have to hear it? Why didn't you get with Sue directly?" Ella was soooo right. So, I sheepishly thanked her for bringing my error to my attention; then I called Sue and let her know more directly what needed to change.

If Ella had not had the strength and conviction to let me know she didn't appreciate my actions, I might have left most of my team either wondering if they had messed up or resenting me for calling them on something they didn't do (thankfully, I don't think the rest of my team did, this time, anyway) or both.

Save yourself a lot of the grief I caused myself and just deal with your errant team members directly. If you've been coaching regularly, the interaction really shouldn't be a confrontation or even a big deal for you or the "offender" and everybody on the team will be happier.

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