Nothing is more frustrating than employees who don’t listen. 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.
Karin Hurt, writing on letsgrowleaders.com, offers a solid theory on why feedback sessions don’t work for employees: They’re not listening.
Hurt highlights four reasons why employees say they ignore managers’ feedback:
- Too much, too soon. Employees may be trying to improve, but if managers are constantly pointing at new areas for improvement, they won’t be able to keep up. Instead, managers should focus on one change at a time, and see it through before moving on to something else.
- They need specifics. Employees might want to make changes, but they can’t if managers aren’t specific in how they want workers to change. Telling an employee to “be more strategic” might sound good, but unless managers tell the worker how, nothing will get accomplished.
- “Do as I say, not as I do.” It’s difficult for employees to change if they see their bosses engage in the same behavior they’ve been told to avoid. Remind managers that leading by example will lend itself to positive changes throughout the workplace.
If managers want employees to hear feedback, Hurt writes, supervisors need to be sure they’re following their own standards. If exceptions are made, managers must clearly differentiate and explain the thought process behind them, so employees have consistent parameters to follow.
- They just don’t agree. Some employees simply may not see eye to eye with their boss’ feedback, and because of this, they won’t be willing to make a change. In these cases, managers need to actively listen to and address workers’ concerns, then explain why the change is necessary. And, of course, there’s always the gentle reminder that simply refusing to follow the boss’s orders is not an option that’s likely to further their career.