Hi all (thanks for being here),

Should a first O3 also include Adjusting Feedback? (My instinct is “no”, but I’m not sure.)

This person was on vacation last week. While she was out, I found a quality of work issue and an attendance problem that I need to address. The attendance problem is recent (two months), but building quickly. I’m not sure how much history there is with the work quality issue, yet. But, I’ve seen enough and would just like to address it now.

So, back to the question. I think I should give feedback tomorrow (7/25), and wait until Wednesday or Thursday for the O3 with this person.

My brief history: I was promoted to my current position on 7/3. :shock: I have ten directs and just started O3s last week after listening to the casts. I’ve never had more than three directs before. I've always been more of an organizer than a manager. And my company is small and a “seat of the pants” management style company. So, I get promoted because I'm organized and I look like I can manage. I'm going to do the best I can to transition from organizer to manager.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do with the casts. It’ll be the feedback casts on the way home and at home today. I’ve listened to the first one once. I’m glad I found MT! Thanks in advance for everyone’s comments.

Note: After listening to the first feedback cast on the way home, I realize I should address one issue at a time. But my real question is the One on One AND feedback question. What is the best way to start O3s with this person, and give the feedback needed on her behaviour? I want the O3s to be a positive experience, but there are issues that need to be addressed.

mauzenne's picture
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I think your intuition is right on. (Isn't that always comforting?)

First, you are correct on the point of feedback ... give it immediately. No need to wait for O3s. Remember, feedback is not the same as "you're in trouble"; it's simply giving them an understanding of the consequences of their behavior. I like to think I can give performance feedback as dispassionately as I describe the consequence of turning on a water facet (when you turn the facet like this, water starts to come out). Yeah, I'm not always that emotionless, but I try. :-)

Second, I would absolutely give the feedback first, with the O3 to follow. If you do it the OTHER way around (O3 first, followed by feedback) you may leave the impression that the O3 was designed to do nothing more than soften the employee up for the "feedback". Needless to say, it would take a while for you to regain the trust with her necessary for O3s. That said, there is nothing wrong with feedback during O3s, but starting off when something which you deem to be fairly serious is probably best avoided.

Third, by addressing the behavior first and giving some time for the person to think about it, you may create the space necessary for the person to open up about some important issues. Perhaps there are issues at home, financial issues, etc. directly related to her behavior. Having addressed already addressed the fact that her behavior is unacceptable (which you MUST do in any circumstances), you can then focus on being the more compassionate manager. In my experience, I've found it a little harder going from "compassionate" to "this behavior needs to change".

Good luck ... let us know how it goes!


joeflorida's picture

I gave the feedback, using the feedback model, and everything went much better than I expected. I have "talked" to problem employees before, but using the feedback model really does take the emotion out of it. I was much more relaxed, and the employee seemed to be too.

There were issues, both in and out of work, which was causing the attendance problems. Using the model, I explained the effects her behavior was having on staff and workload. I asked how she could fix the problem. She gave me a satisfactory answer.

So, I'll be ready to give more feedback, if needed.

The one thing that I feel I didn't do well is set a measurable goal. We ended with her promise of better attendance. Our company doesn't have a specific attendance policy. Our handbook only speaks of excessive tardiness or absenteeism, but doesn’t define what excessive means. I have a meeting later today with HR to see what options I have.

I didn't feel right setting a goal for one person that everyone else doesn't have. And, since nothing had really been documented officially (I was using our departments calendar as a reference) I am basically starting from scratch. I didn't feel like I should start with an "or else" kind of feedback.

So, other than that one nagging issue that I have, and that I will fix, it went very well. Once again, thanks MT for your website, your podcasts, and this discussion board. This is the practical, step by step help that I really need. I’m glad I found it when I did.

US101's picture
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Joe - good for you doing the feedback and using the model. Your successful expeience reminds how effective it is.

Regarding not having a specific goal around attendance - maybe ask the employee "What does better attendance mean to you?"

Good job for going to HR first and for thinking this through before talking with the employee about it again.


joeflorida's picture

Thanks Jon. That may be a good way to approach the issue. HR confirms that we don't have an attendance policy other than what I stated earlier.

At this point, I'm going to leave the ball in the employee's court. Hopefully she won't test the limits, where ever they may be.

And, since this thread turned into a feedback thread, more that One on Ones, I'll just say this about that....

I did my second O3 with three of my directs today. The first meeting with each had been fairly casual and, well, introductory. I was worried that we couldn't fill 30 minutes actually talking about current projects. This is our slow season.

I was wrong. They all talked and talked and I learned more about their day to days that I thought possible. This afternoon I had to assign a project, and I knew who could handle the workload, based on my conversations today.

Hmmmmm..... this communication thing.... you might be onto something.


US101's picture
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Joe = you starting see how 1-on-1's help you delegate more effectively and visa versa, along with feedback and coaching. They all fit together nicely.