Brits’ awkwardness about complaining prevalent at the office

British managers lack the ability to handle poor performance and give feedback, according to over 13,000 employees in both the public and private sectors.  Shine Feedback’s 360 degree survey results show managers’ behaviours are rated consistently low when holding difficult conversations with employees.

Over 3,900 individual managers have been assessed in the last year by Shine Feedback (break down of public vs private sector approximately 1:3.).  The data tends to be confirmed in their employee surveys too, where a high percentage of staff (1 in 3) say they don’t have regular performance reviews.

Andy Clare, managing partner of Shine Feedback, explains, “It’s much like the stereotypical problem of Brits complaining in restaurants – we can grumble to our companions, but we couldn’t possibly tell the waiter.  Most of us simply don’t know how to express dissatisfaction effectively and it means we avoid difficult conversations at work too.

“There are many reasons why managers are unable to handle poor performance or give feedback.  It’s sensitive, can get emotional, they might have other priorities, perhaps they don’t have enough evidence.  Also, when jobs are at risk during a recession, managers can be inclined to overlook poor performance, giving underachievement the benefit of the doubt.  After all, who wants to be responsible for someone losing their job when there aren’t too many around?

“Yet our research and observations tell us managers simply lack the practical skills and understanding of how to give challenging feedback. 

“At the most basic level, it’s important to remember that instead of moaning or complaining, it’s better to state that poor performance is unacceptable and provide constructive feedback to help people learn.  The target of the complaint will be far more receptive.  Complaining shouldn’t be mixed up with expressing dissatisfaction.  There is a difference that we need to work on.”

 


 

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