Saturday, April 20, 2013

Management to Motherhood: Managing Disappointment

As you work to grow others, there are bound to be setbacks and disappointments. No one is perfect, and sometimes we encounter failure. When I find out one of my "kids" (team members) has fallen short, my heart sinks a little. I want them to be successful; I coach them to do their best, but even the best people will disappoint occasionally.

Here are my 10 tips on managing disappointment:
  1. Set clear expectations from the beginning. If kids clearly know what they should or should not do, you know their failure wasn't due to miscommunication
  2. Communicate the "why". If they buy in to the reasons for rules or processes, they are more likely to follow along. Coupled with setting expectations, this goes a long way towards keeping them from doing something wrong.
  3. Gain respect before an incident occurs. Others are more likely to listen to you if they respect you. You can do this through getting to know them, establishing mutual goals for their future, and practicing what you preach - living by the advice you give to them.
  4. Show that you care for them, no matter what. Conditional love doesn't help anyone. Accepting and celebrating their unique gifts while caring for their well-being gives your relationship a foundation of trust. They will be less likely to question your motives if they know you're on their team and committed to helping them succeed.
  5. Confront them as soon as possible. Delaying a response to a problem gives them the wrong message - they may think what they did was ok. Talking directly to them about the incident shows that you won't let them slip by. Although it may be an uncomfortable conversation, it displays your care for their success.
  6. Don't jump to conclusions. Tell them what happened and how it didn't match the expectations you laid out. Then, ask them what happened. Give them a chance to speak their mind and explain the circumstances. There may be lots of excuses which you'll have to tackle, but there may be more to the story than you know. Being allowed to speak helps build that trust.
  7. Say you're disappointed. Disappointment from a respected coach is highly motivating, and it lasts. I still remember the sunken feeling I got every time my parents were disappointed in me. I looked up to them so much and worked really hard to make them proud.
  8. Turn it into a growth opportunity. Communicate what your expectations are going forward and how they can correct what happened. This makes a confrontation constructive and gives it a positive note in the end.
  9. Establish appropriate consequences. Make sure the punishment fits the crime. If one of my team members displays poor communication skills, I explain the opportunities they could have had but won't because their skills aren't there yet. I don't like taking away TV or grounding kids - those punishments are generic and don't reinforce the specific behaviors you're targeting. A teenager not making it home by curfew? Set curfew an hour earlier - once they show they can be responsible enough to make it home on time, they can "earn back" that hour...and your trust.
  10. And finally...don't take it personally! There will be slip-ups from time to time. At some point it's up to them to live their own life. You can only coach and correct, not steer. Ultimately their success is in their own hands.

No comments:

Post a Comment