“Say something positive. Say something negative. Say something positive.” Ever heard of this feedback technique? It’s sometimes called a feedback sandwich. I don’t think you should eat it. Or even put it in the lunchbox. In fairness, there’s good intent behind it. We don’t want to crush our teammates, after all. We’d also like to […]
“Great job last week! Sara told me about your extra effort to get it over the finish line. I appreciate you.” “This month’s teamwork award goes to John. Here’s 3 specific things he hit out of the park…” Are statements like this commonplace for you? How much time and energy should we spend praising those […]
“You’re overly critical and don’t reflexively care for others’ needs.” I was reading the results of my personality assessment at work, and these were key takeaways. Upon reflection, they were quite accurate. I tried to think of practical steps toward change. My office layout was low hanging fruit. At that time, my standing workstation was […]
“The truth changes.” The first time I heard that sentence, my inside voice pushed back. It was a reflex from my belief in absolute truth. (Perceptions of it may be flawed, but it exists.) My friend wasn’t talking about absolute truth. Instead, he was describing the rapid-even-sudden way that reality “on the ground” changes, leaving […]
I had just asked a leader about his “self-care.”
Whether humor or unfamiliarity with the term, his response highlights a common leader challenge: Self-care is sometimes pushed to the bottom of our priority list.
Even more so in crisis.
As COVID-19 crashed into your reality, you rapidly made changes. Some were practical, some strategic, some were externally imposed and some you decided. Entire workforces have “new normals,” whether working from home or working within imaginary 6-foot cubes that follow a person around.
The Iraqi night was particularly dark. I climbed the stairs to the roof and eased my way into the heavily sandbagged position in one corner. A lone Soldier peered over his machine gun into the night.
“It’s going to feel like a combat deployment.”
We were talking about medical leaders and the strain of the COVID-19 crisis. My friend observed that a year’s worth of daily life-and-death crisis at the hospital – with people you may-or-may-not get along with – will feel like a 12-month deployment to a war zone.
Feedback is great. But when it comes out of nowhere, it can feel like a punch in the face.
If you haven’t had the experience, Mike Tyson summarized it well before his 2nd bout with Evander Holyfield, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” (Incidentally, Tyson lost the match, Holyfield part of an ear.) It goes like this:
I used to work for a company that hired a lot of translators. But they weren’t linguists.
The role was one of “forward support representative.” A former soldier would serve as liaison between the engineers designing new technology and the soldiers using it.
Why was this job even created? Because engineers and soldiers do not speak the same language. Sure, in the U.S. they’re all speaking English, but they are not speaking the same language.