When I've talked to these managers about some of the issues I see with the new hires (peer reviews) that aren't performing very well, I'm met with a certain level of agreement. So I know that I'm not completely off base in my observations. But I'm not sure that all of these observations get back to the employee that is underperforming. There's a few outcomes I see happening from this: 1 - the underperforming employee does not realize the seriousness of the situation, 2 - the manager has not effectively communicated the situation to them, or 3 - the employee does not know how to rectify their performance. I guess a fourth option would be that the employee does not care, but I'll rule that one out for now since I do believe that these people care about their jobs.
There's no magic in separating your emotions from telling people bad news. If there's a trick to it then please let me know, but as far as I can tell it's always going to suck to give people bad news. Some medical schools even have classes on bedside manner because they know that doctors will have to give bad news at some point. But most managers in business never have to learn this skill it's just something they are expected to do.
Why can't we just be honest?I was watching the show Transparent the other day, and in it, one of the characters is having problems with their marriage, they were describing things that were lacking in the marriage to their father when he asked them:
"Why don't you tell him what you want?"
"I don't want to have to tell someone..."
For some reason this struck me. The father's question about just being open with feelings and being blunt and straight to the point were met with the idea of 'social norms say that I cannot do this, people should just know'. But why? Why do we hide from making plain statements?
As far as managing goes, I think I would approach it in a manner that most of my previous/current managers never did with me. I would try to use radical honesty as much as possible, why do we play a guessing game where we read between the lines? I think in a way this would make me a harsher manager than most of the ones at my current company, but at the same time I would have let an employee go about 3 months before we ended up letting him go because I think the managers just had a hard time separating their emotions from it. Perhaps I would just be a more honest manager than really being a harsh manager, I think that I'm just better at separating the business and friendship aspects of work. So far none of my observations on our new hires has been wrong, I've just been more verbal than anyone else to speak up about their performance.
I think that radical honesty is something I want to try to practice more of this year. I don't usually do new years resolutions, I am a firm believer that if you want to make a change in your life that it shouldn't take a special day to do it. If I want to improve myself then I should start as soon as I realize that it's a change I want to seriously do.
I doubt that I will remove all of the "white lies" from my life. I'm sure that if a coworker asks me how I'm doing I will still say "fine" instead of whatever may really be on my mind. But as far as being more direct with people I think that is something I want to improve upon, in both my professional life and in my personal life. This idea scares me, I fear how it may change my relationships with people which is probably the main reason that I stay so quiet to begin with. But even if it fails, I think I will learn a lot from the experience.
I've already started this in a way by bluntly telling my manager that I was not happy with them and requested a transfer to another team. We'll see how the experiment goes as the year goes on. Hopefully I'm not jobless/friendless by the end of the year.