One of my favorite books of all
time is the Outsiders by SE Hinton.
The book and movie speak about a group of teenagers that
try to meddle through the complexities of life together.
They stick together through thick and thin and
when one is hurting, they are all hurting.
When one is happy, they are all happy. When
one speaks, they speak for the entire group.
They call their friendship the greasers because they
grease their hair with a tremendous amount of product.
In the story, one person
speaks on behalf of the group.
Another person speaks on
behalf of another group.
The result is a dangerous
ramble in which no one wins.
Sometimes when giving feedback,
I'm reminded of the greasers.
When addressing unmet performance expectations, you may know of
other people that feel the same sentiment of frustration as you.
With few exceptions, do not address your frustrations
with a colleague speaking on behalf of an entire group.
This greaser approach will often lead to the colleague
feeling attacked and the response will likely be defensive.
This can diminish the trust within the group
dynamic and cause skepticism of who said what.
How many people think this?
Who is thinking what?
and Why aren't the people with
the problem coming to me?
Rather, address your individual
frustrations with the person.
Try to use language and observations that are as personal
to yourself and directly related to your experience.
A simple "I have noticed that" or "I have observed
that" can frame the conversation much differently
than "We all feel that" or "It has been
reported to me from several sources that"
type of conversation which can
invoke a feeling of attack.
In the Outsiders, the conflict of one person results in the conflict of the entire group and consequently warrants a giant ramble.
People get hurt very badly and
no one reaches a solution.
Similar ramble type situations can happen in our work situations
if we create a feeling of us versus you approach to our feedback.
Approach feedback from a personal angle.
The idea of speaking on behalf
of everyone can act as a shield
to confessing personal emotions and frustrations that
are actually specific to one person or maybe two.
When speaking on
behalf of others,
it is difficult to gauge the depth of the frustrations
and how much weight the performance challenges carry.
Don't hide behind a
shield of other people.
Be vulnerable and bring up
frustrations specific to you.
If you bring up the frustration one on one with a
team member and no change is observed at that time,
I would encourage you to utilize the support
from your charge nurse, supervisor, or manager.
They are there to help you
navigate these challenges.
If the challenge is with the leader or with
the leadership or they do not support you,
then I would encourage you to discuss
the challenges with human resources.
They are also a resource to
help champion your success.
Either way, do not take a greaser approach.
Here is what I want you to do instead.
Address your individual frustrations and unmet expectations
and come up with an action plan for improvement.
If other people have frustrations, encourage
and support your team with the tools
to address individual challenges
with the individuals.
This is how you can
Keep harmony within the team with
minimal escalation and stay gold.