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Concern Statement

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Now when we get ready to share our "Concern Statement", there are some criteria that we want to make sure we keep in mind, and that is that we are talking about both actual and desired behaviors or performance. We are talking only about things that are factual. We're not making assumptions. Here is an example. An assumption is "Sue, you have a bad attitude." What's factual is, "Sue, we've noticed you don't smile when you come to work, you don't participate in our team meetings, you've been missing deadlines." Just get rid of the word "bad attitude". I encourage you to not ever tell someone they have a bad attitude. Because how does that go over? Not well. "Who are you to tell me I have a bad attitude?" Right? Yeah. So be factual. Or, "This person is aggressive." Tell me what you see that's leading you to put that label on that person. Or, "This person doesn't care." Tell me what you see that leads you to cast that label that this person doesn't care. Has anyone ever told you that you don't care? It's like, "Wait, time out. You don't know. You don't have a lens into my brain and into my heart." So let's talk about what you see, not what you think. Stay above the line; stay with what's observable. And then the desired behavior statement must— once it's implemented— resolve the issue. And some situations are a little bit more complex and we'll talk about that when we look at a couple of examples. We can't always easily add— "...Ok, and the desired performance that I'm looking for, the desired behavior I'm looking for is this." That's not always easy. This kind of makes it look like it is, but it isn't always easy. And then the last thing is, especially in work —you can do it differently as a parent— but in work, instead of getting comfortable with the phrase, "Well, my expectation is..." use the phrase, "The expectation is..." And the expectation is, because you're a representative of this organization and you're representing the cultural expectations, the performance expectations. So you want to neutralize your own power to your people and to your coworkers. If you're part of a team, and as a team you've put agreements in place for how you're going to work together, you can say, "...and you know the agreement that we made as a team is that we were all going to be on time." Or, "The agreement that we made as a team is that we were all going to meet our deadlines so we didn't adversely affect other people on the team." So then we get to our actual "Concern Statement" with Joe, and let's just check this for "is it factual". "I've noticed, Joe, that you've come late to work on four occasions in the last two weeks by a minimum of ten minutes. We agreed as a team that we would arrive on time." Is that factual? Is that void of assumption? Let's go back and look at the other. Is it free of criticism? And does it include a desired behavior which once implemented would resolve the issue? Yeah. And did we start with the expectation? In this case, I took it out. I softened it a bit just because I knew some of you aren't formal leaders of people. You wouldn't use that terminology if you're talking with a teammate. You wouldn't say, "And the expectation is..." So to make it relevant to the situation, you'd look at how do I shift the language so that I'm not off-putting to people. So in this case, it's like, hey, we agreed that we were going to do this. Now, if this is the boss, with the boss—we just make suggestions and then we have to kind of let it go, or we ask favors and then we kind of let it go. We might not be monitoring our boss for timeliness, although let's pretend that Joe is the boss and we say to our boss, "You know, I've noticed that you've come in late for..." let's say meetings, because we're not going to monitor our boss's arrival time. "But over the last couple of weeks, you've come to meetings late three times and... we all agreed as a team that we would be on time... and so I'm just concerned on behalf of the team." And we use tentative language and we use respectful language when we're talking upward. Another example, this one is behavioral. This is an example where some people would just say, "I don't like your attitude." Because look at this list of stuff. In this one we're saying, "I've noticed that during our meetings, you were checking your messages on your cell phone, you rolled your eyes twice, and sighed loudly on several occasions. Finally, you walked out of the meeting ten minutes before we were scheduled to end. We agreed when we..." Let's just stop there for a minute. What some people would do is, they wouldn't list all those specific things, and they would just say, "You know what, Joe? I just don't like your attitude as a member of this team." Right? Wouldn't some of you maybe do that? And so people have said, "Are you kidding me? I've got to tell him that he's rolling his eyes and leaving early and sighing loudly?" Yeah, because that's the behavior that's disruptive to people. So if I'm the boss of Joe, I'm responsible to get a handle on that so the rest of the team doesn't have to endure that, because that's not fun. Is it? People who kind of show up in that way? So then I say, "The expectation is..." or, "We agreed when we created our ground rules that we would remain attentive during meetings and share our concerns respectfully."

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Duration: 6 minutes and 12 seconds
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Language: English
License: All rights reserved
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Posted by: amanda.cropper on Jan 17, 2017

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