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Friday, October 8, 2010

The Main Advantage of a Considered Response

Today I went to a facility and found an upset employee.  The employee felt that our IT Department had not been responding to their needs in a timely manner.  Basically there are two ways to respond to criticism—one way is to smile, be cordial in behavior, but do nothing; the second way is to smile, be cordial in behavior, and follow up with actions to address voiced concerns.  In the first case one resists and rejects criticism adding to the frustration already expressed (the phony smile being an added irritant); in the second case one accepts and responds to criticism demonstrating in actuality that one takes the expressed concerns seriously.  Certainly the second approach is preferable assuming one is dealing with a person who is not a chronic and irrational (essentially unstable) complainer.  In that case, further action is not called for except to go about one’s business under fire.  I’m glad to say that our department today specifically addressed the concerns expressed in several ways.  It is my experience that stressful issues when dealt with thoughtfully can paradoxically result in a stronger bond between once contending parties.  After being critical, the one broaching the issues at hand tends to expect a reflexive countervailing response—criticism met with criticism.  When the response is not countervailing; genuine surprise, appreciation, and finally trust results.  The big lesson made evident today: Profoundly Great Things (in many spheres of conflict) can happen when push out is not followed by shove back.

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