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Based on my experience these all ring true. In addition, you may simply find yourself in a constant frame of mind that can best be characterized as sketpical, even paranoid. In other words, you simply can't or won't trust others especially senior managers. Lest you be labeled as a "Debbie Downer" or a malcontent, such a state of mind offers no other option than to leave.

Steve Roesler

Hi, Mitchell

Well, that sure qualifies as a "must take action" mindset. When the trust is gone (based in reality or not--it's gone), nothing good can follow.

Thanks for the addition. . .

Al Pittampalli

Yup, exactly why coaching is so valuable. As humans, it's sometimes so hard to take a look at our problem from the outside, because we're so tangled on the inside.

Steve Roesler

That whole "human" thing just won't go away, Al.

David Lawyer

Well written on all points, Steve. I myself have been guilty on one or two of these points and they are a lot more difficult to tackle and resolve than they look. Admitting YOU'RE in the wrong and incorrect is first big step. After that, things start to make better sense. :)

peter vajda

The oft-quoted definition of insanity...doing the same thing over and over in the same way and expecting different results. Somewhere and somehow if this does not tug on one's own sleeve and urge "change," then perhaps this is where, as you suggest, others may choose to support one to see their blind spots, resistances or fears...

Steve Roesler


Let's face it, it's sure easier to look elsewhere for the culprit than in the mirror. Yet as you note, a little humility goes a very long way.

Thanks for adding to the mix.

Steve Roesler


I think everyone has heard that definition and probably quoted it. The question: Why don't we heed it and act upon it?

Looking at the literature, tips, and "Guidelines" for feedback, there is an abundance of "Ooh, don't give any feedback unless it's requested or unless you ask permission." In normal circumstances they are respectful principles to follow. It seems to me that, for the same reason families find themselves staging interventions for those with serious behavior problems hurting all concerned, bosses and work groups ought to consider the same. A last-ditch effort, born of caring, could make a difference. Not doing something could cause people to wonder for the rest of their lives, "What if we had only. . ."

Your thoughts?

peter vajda


From a business perspective, giving and receiving feedback goes with the territory, or at least it should, so no asking for or requesting feedback unless it goes above and beyond the feedback that is business as usual.

As for families, in my experience, one reason individuals resist giving feedback to those who need it is because the individuals who want to give the feedback are often the enablers perpetuating the behavior of others. In addition, in family some individuals resist giving feedback out of guilt. They don't want to be seen as bad or they don't want to fall out of favor with those to whom they give feedback.

There used to be a popular show on television called Intervention where families would gather to "give feedback" to an individual who is behaving badly. In all these situations, the family members have to resort to an outside expert to facilitate intervention, often because the individual family members either don't know how to give feedback, or have been enabling the bad behavior all along.

In many of these same situations, the family members "care" but they don't know "how to care." Caring often means tough love in hard decisions. This makes many people uncomfortable

I think, for some bosses, it's the same. They care but they don't know how to care and so giving feedback is uncomfortable, or nonexistent. Too, many of these bosses had been enabling their behavior by the lack of feedback or by the lack of honest feedback. And this is questionable needs to be asked. Why are some bosses and managers so reluctant to either give feedback, or give honest feedback.

Steve Roesler


I think you framed the issue well by equating the issue as "caring" but "not knowing how to care." It's the "how to" that gets in the way. And I hadn't thought of the lack of honest feedback as enabling, although most corporate Counsels certainly have. That's why it's difficult to let someone go whose performance may be poor but who has never heard a word about it until "the end."


Spot on. The Einstein quote comes to mind. "Doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result is a sign of insanity". We are amazingly capable of deluding ourselves.

Steve Roesler

Mike, indeed we are.

I wonder why we do that?

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