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“If you are building a culture where honest expectations are communicated and peer accountability is the norm, then the group will address poor performance and attitudes.”
~Henry Cloud*

I sometimes find it helpful to think of adults who misbehave as poorly trained dogs; if you don’t teach a puppy to pee outside, don’t be surprised when he pees in the house. 

Most manager’s problems are people-related issues: putting out fires, clarifying communications, following-up with folks.

Most people leave their jobs because of their managers; poor communication, lack of accountability, non-acknowledgement.

Ergo, if communication expectations and accountability measures were put in place, managers would have more available time, allowing for better, less rushed decision-making, and less people would leave their jobs less often with less blaming of their boss.

This is a no-brainer.

Yet, over and over, people are allowed to communicate and behave in destructive ways. People get away with things you’d chastise your child for doing.

One example: Eye-rollers. The silent dissenters. Passive-aggressive and proud of it. Others tip-toe around them.

Or another: People who yell. Too much, too often. Not acceptable. Period. But it continues.

I’ve heard these kinds of complaints time and again, that managers act in ways that their direct reports find completely ineffective. (Especially in behemoth businesses. Think any Canadian Bank.)

But no one calls the offender out. “Oh, no! I could never say anything. It just isn’t done.”

Which is why you have people problems. Seriously, I shake my head sometimes over what is swept under the carpet, avoided, ignored, by deeming the act of speaking up as unprofessional.

That’s just B.S.

You gotta’ show the dog where the door is and praise ‘em when they pee outside.

However, when a team creates a culture [an agreement of values (expectations) and standards of behavior (consequences)] of honest communication and personal accountability, when someone steps outside the norms, the team addresses it.

Peer pressure, not positional pressure, always works better.

It’s best to lay the groundwork as a pup, but all dogs can learn.

“I myself have known some profoundly thoughtful dogs.” ~ James Thurber

*If you haven’t read any of Dr. Cloud’s books, I highly recommend Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality in which he addresses the subtler aspects of leadership wrapped up in the term “character;” this book has greatly informed my coaching practice.

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