Do you have problems you are completely unaware of?
September 24, 2013 Nancy Slessenger This entry was posted in Bullies, Emotional Intelligence, Improving Performance, Objectives and tagged Emotional Intelligence, mproving performance, NHS, Stafford Hospital Trust. Bookmark the permalink.
A recent report on what’s been going wrong in some NHS (National Health Service) hospitals has highlighted that; at Stafford hospital there were many reports of problems by staff (hundreds of them). But the people on the board of the Trust didn’t see the details of complaints and issues. Nor did they take any action and so staff gave up.
It’s important to point out here that there are many, many examples of excellent service in the NHS and that needs to be remembered.
It’s very easy to criticise others in this respect, but can you put your hand on your heart and say you really know what’s going on in your business or team? And that you know what the problems are and how customers see your service or products?
‘Targets and Terror’
One of the problems identified was that in some areas of the NHS there was a culture of fear and bullying. It seems this was quite a deliberate policy.
According to someone on Tony Blair’s delivery unit team, the good thing about targets is that they put fear right the way through the organisation. He seemed to believe that fear was an effective way to motivate people. One person, Adair Turner (businessman, academic and a member of the UK’s Financial Policy Committee) objected saying it was wrong.
Apparently this era was referred to as ‘Targets and Terror’. Just another way of describing bullying.
There is nothing wrong with targets or objectives
It’s the way they are used that can cause the problems. Unfortunately, instead of encouraging the behaviours you need, using fear is a superb strategy for ensuring that people bend over backwards to hide problems from you and massage the figures. So you can easily mistakenly believe that everything in the garden is rosy.
You can create the same culture by accident
Just responding badly when you get bad news (killing the messenger) is often enough to
make your people fearful. So people avoid giving you the information you require.
That leads to a situation where you have lots of problems that you are completely unaware of.
What can you do?
You need to respond well to bad news.
Yes, I know it’s hard. But if you are a manager then it is your responsibility to know what’s going on. Realistically, to do that you have make sure people are happy and comfortable to give you the worst news.
It’s emotional intelligence
(See this blog if you missed it: Emotional Intelligence – An easy way to improve it) You need to be aware of the kind of feelings, and therefore behaviour, you are generating in others. And then you need to know which feelings you need to be generating in them. If you generate the right feelings you will get the information you need in order to excel in your work and to be successful.
If you don’t get that information, you will come to grief and there will be all kinds of hidden problems, but no one will have the guts to tell you. So it will be all too easy to believe that everything is fine.
It’s up to you.