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Talent Innovations' Resources - Book Extracts

Our musings on making 360 degree feedback fantastic

Be a transformational change agent: four levels in managing resistance (Part 4)

The previous excerpts from the book “360 Degree Feedback: A Transformational Approach” described the easier first steps in managing resistance. First – listen, make safe and question; second – allow them to feel the impact; and third – share your own experience of them and impact on you. If these fail to touch the person or team you are wanting to influence, then you can try again with the earlier techniques or it may be time to move on to the level of intervention, Level 4.

LEVEL 4
Acknowledge lack of openness,
declare session over and part as friends!

You need to time this right as this final, and rather drastic stage of managing resistance is always effective and can be quite dramatic. It is a brilliant last resort position though and once you have gained confidence with this you will forever know you can handle anyone.

You have worked very hard trying to encourage them to see what their data is really saying to them. Their resistance is very clear, they are not seeing anything much, they are not listening to your input, they are not answering your questions fully. You have tried all the good questions and asked lots about impact and you have shared yourself. Nothing. Key is making sure that you reach this stage about half way through your session – too early feels a bit feeble and too late can be mistaken as simply an early finish. Once you have reached the magic timeslot for level 4, this is what you say:

EXAMPLE

Again, you are calm and friendly and you start to pack up your notebook etc saying ” Do you know, I am thinking this is a bit of a waste of time. You don’t seem particularly interested in my input on your 360 degree feedback report so why don’t we both use our time more productively and part on good terms…” and keep packing up, smiling and genuinely feeling happy that you have terminated this tortuous session.

The typical response to this is then: “ Oh no, of course not, let’s get back to the report… please let’s keep going” in which case you engage again and they are likely to now be open. Alternatively they may respond with a “ Yes, alright, bye then” and you both go your separate ways.

As you can see both these scenarios gives you back a level of control in this coaching, allows you to acknowledge that they are not being coachable, that it is ok not being coachable and giving them the option to turn around. You have to be happy with either result for this level of intervention to work but, in my experience, however it turns out it is totally fine for you. There may be consequences for them for curtailing the session (there may not) but either way, they are choosing this route and they are taking the consequences. This may be the transformational angle of their 360 degree feedback. In the very few cases of Level 4 resistance I have experienced (three I reckon) – two have decided to engage (finally) and one has walked. This one individual resigned soon after and everyone was relieved so it may have served to hasten this process and their resistance to the 360 degree feedback may have been simply reflecting the current state of their commitment to the company. All good!

Key to this level is that once you know how it works and know you can do this, you can then be 100% confident you can handle any resistance. This allows you to relax and be present and be as powerful as you can be.”

Be brave and bold but sensitive. Your input will make a difference and you can be proud of how you have managed your boundaries. At the same time your position is likely to profoundly impact and change the dynamics around you. Others will find themselves changing. “Resistance is futile”!

 

I hope you have enjoyed this series of articles. Look out for the next mini-series on the topic of feedback.

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