By Jeff Mandel
RISMEDIA, August 15, 2007–How many times since you were a child have you participated in a conversation where one or more of the participants talks louder than someone else in order to get their point across? I would suspect that all of us have either been on the receiving or delivery end of this form of communication.
How many times have you experienced the following situation in your professional career? A manager initially expresses their displeasure with results or some other action but neither tries to understand the root cause of the issue nor provides any recommendations other than, “I’m not happy and this needs to change.” After some period of time whereby the results or actions are still not meeting expectations, the manager addresses the situation by communicating their displeasure by raising their voice and/or banging their hand on a table for emphasis without further research or suggestions. This pattern may go on multiple times without ever changing.
What’s unfortunate is that I and probably most of you have witnessed this occurrence on multiple occasions. As a result, I have coined the term “The Bigger Bang Syndrome.”
Do these actions really impact change? Other than pressuring an employee to ultimately leave your organization, this approach is incredibly counterproductive and can be interpreted to be a form of personnel abuse. In fairness, all of us whether as parents or managers, have felt our blood pressure boil when the results or behaviors of our children or employees don’t meet our expectations, especially after we’ve communicated our expectations multiple times.
What we really need to do is lead by example by maintaining our composure and understanding the root cause of underperformance:
Is it because the expectations are unrealistic (time, market conditions, bar set too high, etc.)?
Is it because the individual (or group) doesn’t have the experience, knowledge, training or tools to meet the expectations?
Or is it because the individual (or group) isn’t capable of meeting the expectations despite all of the above resources being in place?
Regardless of the reason, what I can assure you is that the Bigger Bang Syndrome is not going to positively impact the desired change and results. Your leadership, expertise and time are needed to help identify the root cause of the challenge and provide the necessary assistance to your team to make the requisite changes. For the avoidance of doubt, this generally does not mean taking over the responsibility and managing it yourself. It means providing the right balance of assistance to help your personnel achieve the desired results.
It is imperative that we lead by example in coaching and leading our teams. When the results or actions continue to not meet expectations we must take constructive action to help our teams and not fall into the trap of the Bigger Bang Syndrome.
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