Question: “Last week a staff member got angry with me because I answered the phone in our supervision/feedback session. Isn’t that a bit sensitive of them? Tony
Answer: “If you had spent the day planning what you were going to say to your manager about issues you had with your work or colleagues, and gathered the courage to speak about it, only to be interrupted by phone calls, wouldn’t you be angry? I know I would so no, it’s not being sensitive. In fact, I applaud them for speaking out.
This raises concerns for me about your management skills as quite clearly this session was very important to your colleague. Not only did you not pick this up early in the conversation, you still didn’t get it after they got angry.
Take time to understand why you were insensitive to the tension in the room and then re-think your attitude about these sessions. I know a lot of managers raise their eyebrows when they “have to have” these sessions and dismiss their importance. And if they don’t treat them seriously then their staff aren’t going to treat them seriously.
The reality is though that this is the opportunity for you to truly manage staff performance. If they’re not done correctly then if there’s any employment disputes later down the line, what goes on in these sessions (or not) can be taken into account.
So give these sessions, and your colleagues, the respect they deserve and turn off the phones. There’s very little that can’t wait half-an-hour and if others know that you treat these sessions as important, they’ll wait before they interrupt you.”
Laura is an organisation development specialist and executive coach with mtc2 ltd. To solve your problem email firstname.lastname@example.org Tweet @WayfinderWoman Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.