Understandably, people who ask for advice may not always follow it. But how they listen and respond makes a difference in the outcome and its impact on others. This includes frustrating encounters with “askholes” — people who constantly ask for your advice, yet ALWAYS do the complete opposite of what you told them to do” [Urban Dictionary] — and those who ask for advice only to dismiss it.
Ignoring valuable suggestions from reliable sources can negatively affect the workplace. Read on to learn more.
Example #1. When the consultant voice doesn’t matter
I was called in to consult with an IT organization to facilitate the initial sessions on a massive change and reorganization. People were not being forced to join the new organization — they came by choice and interview. During the first session, an employee who worked in network security stood up and said “I don’t support any of this and will work to stop it.” I was able to address the employee’s disruption temporarily and he sat down.When I later met with the IT leader to discuss this serious issue, he made light of it saying, “People say things like that during changes. It’s no big deal.” I told him it IS a big deal as the network security specialist accepted this job in the new organization by choice and said he will do everything to stop the change. Still the leader seemed unmoved. Finally I said, “I am telling you that you better check into what he is doing to the network. This is serious!!” He did and found out that the network security specialist was taking steps to subvert it.When you ask a trusted consultant for an opinion, at least check out what they are saying. This wasn’t the first leader to initially dismiss my concerns only to find out the situation was very serious.
Example #2. When the employee voice doesn’t matter
A service-based organization implemented system changes that frustrated both front-line employees and customers. Fortunately, loyal customers were patient and empathetic as staff struggled to adapt. Several customers also politely shared their concerns with employees to be communicated upward. But staff feedback was routinely ignored to the point that employees resorted to asking customers to complain directly to management as senior leaders were more likely to respond to customer complaints.
As a result, customers were made aware of management not listening to employee feedback which lead customers to rethink their perceptions of how the organization was run. It’s why I remind leaders, “The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel, and if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.”
How’s your willingness to listen?
I realize not all suggestions and advice should be heeded. But ignoring outright the input of peoples’ experience and expertise is not only frustrating to those with something to say, it can lead to their disengaging with you.
Asking for advice is only half the battle. How you respond puts your professional credibility and workplace engagement at risk.
[Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay.]