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Tag Archives: Human Psychology

Why do we refrain from taking or giving feedbacks to our peers?


FeedbackAs a manager (or a leader), we should continually be looking for feedback from our peers and employees, and try to improve ourselves. After all, management is more about listening than doing, isn’t it? Even though you would like to improve yourself from these feedbacks, they are hard to come by. So, before we find out a better way to get feedback from our peers, we need to find out basic reasons due to which people feel uncomfortable taking (or giving) their honest feedback.

It emphasizes inferiorities: Honest feedback can sometime make people feel psychologically attacked. Even the most experienced manager or employee can become defensive when feedback seems negative. Take this for an example…Recently, I had to deal with a situation where one of my employee was struggling with time management, so I recommended him to take some time management training. Even though he is a top performer in my team, he was offended by hearing that I was disappointed with his performance. Instead of seeing this feedback as the opportunity to learn something new, he saw it as a personal attack instead.

Don’t know what to ask: Some people misunderstand feedback as the sign of poor communication. To those kind of people, feedback indicates that the message was not communicated very well, and hence, there is a necessity for feedback to get on the same page again. Often people are either so confused that they don’t know what to ask or so confident of their understanding that they ignore the need for any kind of verification. Thus, people refrain to ask for any kind of feedback, after all, no one wants to admit that they didn’t understand anything properly.

It is time consuming: No matter what kind of feedback you are seeking, verbal or written, it is always going to be time consuming task. Then it maybe at the meeting or through an e-mail, you need to make sure that you ask the right question, and get the honest response. Unfortunately, most of the managers won’t take the time to make sure that everyone is on the same page by asking for their feedback; instead, they will prefer to redo their tasks that should have been accomplished correctly the first time. Maybe they are used to this practice of dictatorship, or maybe they are afraid to put in the required time to ask the right question.

People are afraid: If you work in a developed Nation like US, UK, or Canada, you don’t want to admit that you are afraid of your Boss/Manager. But inherently we all respect the authorities of our Boss, and we are kind of afraid of their authorities as well. Even though we are taught to speak up our mind, we sometimes refrain from providing true feedback to our managers by being afraid of the consequences that it might have in the future. Is that not true? There is nothing wrong with this behavior. From our childhood we are taught to respect authority, then it maybe the authority of our parents or our teachers.

Can you find any other reasons due to which people refrain from giving their honest feedback to others? If so, please share it here, I would love to hear your take on this. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

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Are you working for a bad Boss? Here are few tips to deal with the situation


Have you been in a situation where your Boss takes all the credit of your work and makes you responsible for his mistakes? Does your Boss never listen to you, or at least you feel he doesn’t? I am sure that 10-20% of my readers must have been through these situations at least once. Though I might not have a magical solution to correct this problem, I can recommend few steps through which you can get yourself out of these situations.

Do self-assessment first: I am a huge believer of second chances. Thus, I would recommend you to self-assess yourself before blaming your Boss. I am not saying that you are a cry baby, and you have a problem of crying no matter what your Boss does for you. Sometimes there is a perception difference between how you see things and how your Boss sees the same thing. Thus, before taking any action, you want to get rid of these variables. You can do this assessment by observing your Boss’s behavior towards other colleagues. You can also ask your colleagues about your behavior, and your Boss’s behavior towards you. This will give you some good insight on identifying the exact problem.

Move-on but document: Let’s say, you found out through your self-assessment process that your Boss is being unreasonable to you. In that case, you can still have a fresh start. It’s never too late to forgive someone. Try forgiving your Boss for his past behavior, and try to have a fresh start. But this time, take the ball in your hand. Take initiatives to objectify your goals and document your achievements. For example: If you are working on a project, and you got praised by your colleague or your customer, then keep those documents aside in one file. This kind of information, justifying your achievements, will help you when you want to confront your Boss about your progress.

Have a friend in upper management: I am not intending to bribe anyone or going out of your way to please someone. I am just saying that you should keep good relationships with your Boss’s Boss. If you don’t know how to initiate or cultivate these relationships then I have one advice for you – “Lunch”. I would recommend you to invite your Boss’s Boss for a lunch. This will give you an informal setting, where you can discuss your issues with him. Once you feel comfortable enough with this relationship, you can e-mail him about your achievements in a monthly e-mail. This practice will give you some visibility to upper management, and in case of issues with your immediate Boss, you can ask for help from Boss’s Boss.

Quit your job: After you have exhausted all of your options, and they don’t seem to be working, then you should think of getting an another job. You don’t want to be stuck in a job, where you don’t find any opportunity of growth. But don’t quit your job right away. Be patient and keep working hard, until you find a reasonably good offer. In the meanwhile, you should start collecting references and recommendation letters from your colleagues, customers, and old Bosses. Make sure to document all of your achievements and interesting projects for your job search. And yeah! Don’t do the same mistake again. Try to find a new job, where you can produce measurable results, and your performance depends on your deliverables, and not on your Boss’s perception of you.

I hope these tips will give you some idea about how to deal with a bad boss. Let me know, if you have any other ideas through which you can work at a workplace where your Manager doesn’t value you that much. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Become a better leader by understanding human psychology


HumanPsychologyAs a human being, we are not rational creatures. We assume that beautiful people are smarter and kinder than other people, just based on their looks. Thus, if we can understand these irrational biases then we can sometimes take advantage of these influences in order to improve our leadership style. With my experience, I have created few golden rules, which will help you to take advantage of these biases to become a better leader.

Make friends at work: I have seen many people, who believe that making friends at work is not a good idea. But I think, they are missing out on a big picture. Do you really want to work 40 hours/week at a place where you can’t even have a normal conversation with your coworkers? Making friends at work will make your work life enjoyable. Also, research shows that we are more likely to say yes to people we know and like. Thus, if you can get your coworkers to like you then they are more likely to follow your lead and direction.

Convince others with social examples: Generally, people want to feel that their thoughts and actions are compatible with others and are compliant to social norms. Thus, they normally look for social proof about any concept or a project. As a leader, you can take advantage of this bias by pointing out examples of successful projects that are similar to the project/proposal that you are proposing. Once you get few people leaning towards your direction, it’s difficult for other people to oppose that direction because of the power of social proof.

Ask for help instead of money: Normally, people are conditioned to reciprocate gifts, favors, and considerations. If they don’t reciprocate, they risk being disliked by others, so reciprocation is related to social proof. It also works other way around. If you ask someone for a favor, and if they grant it, they will feel kindlier toward you and will be more likely to say yes to you in the future. Thus, always present your ideas as – ‘idea under construction’ in front of your superiors or stakeholders, and then ask them for help to make it a solid idea. I bet you that people will see the same idea differently, if you went to them asking ‘help’ instead of ‘funding’.

I hope these tips will prove to be helpful in making the best use of human psychology to become a better leader. If you know any other ways to take advantage of human psychology to become a vibrant leader then please feel free to share it with me. I am always looking for people’s feedback to improve my knowledge. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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