“But I am not the kind of person who is all warm and fuzzy,” explained Justin. “If someone does a good job, that is what they get paid for. Why do I have to get all blubbery? It just feels goofy.” We were talking about the difference between positive and negative reinforcement.
“As a manager, when someone makes a mistake, do you have to correct them?” I asked.
“Well, yes. That’s what a manager does.”
“And when you correct them, do they do it right, or do they just do it well enough not to get yelled at?” I prodded.
“It’s strange, in the short run, they do better, but it doesn’t take long for them to backslide, take a short cut on a process, skip a step. It keeps me pretty busy, checking their work.” Justin wasn’t being defensive, just very matter of fact.
“So, it feels funny, giving honest and sincere appreciation, but it feels okay providing a little negative feedback?”
Justin grimaced. He didn’t like the way that sounded. “I suppose you are right,” he agreed. “But that is just the way I am.” In a way, he felt justified, even sat up straighter when he said it.
“I appreciate your honesty, Justin.” I smiled.
Justin couldn’t help it and cracked a smile back. “I thought you were going to tell me I was politically incorrect.”
“I am looking for something much more than political correctness. Being politically correct won’t make you a better manager. That’s why I focused on something more powerful, your honesty. Honesty will make you a better manager. Honest and sincere appreciation. Meet me here tomorrow and we will make that connection.” -TF