In the movie, “The Karate Kid”, Mr. Miyage exhorts Daniel to “Look eye, Daniel-san, always look eye!”. Most communication issues can be distilled to a lack of “Look eye”. These issues have many symptoms but the most common is “avoid eye”.
It’s interesting to note that with all the technology at our disposal to make communication easier, we haven’t made it more effective. Sadly, it’s easier now than ever to “avoid eye”.
In addition to the technology crutch, there have been a number of well-intended management tools developed over the years that have helped ineffective leaders mask their inability to “look eye”. Here’s my top 3:
360 Degree Feedback – this is a tool used to give feedback to peers who we’re reluctant to face directly. But, what’s really going on here? Instead of creating an environment where we encourage peers to provide direct feedback to each other we ask them to fill out a form and then have others fill out forms and then we have a third party tell them what we think of them – “anonymously”.
- EOS can help you build trust and engage in healthy conflict.
Annual Performance Reviews – this is a tool used to give feedback to subordinates on a yearly basis, usually tied to a (expected) pay increase. It’s really an elaborate “superstitious dance” by two reluctant partners who hate dancing. Instead of a direct conversation where negative and positive feedback is given by both parties, we hide behind a form.
- EOS can help you improve your coaching skills.
Bell Curves – this assumes that not everyone can be great and so requires managers to lump subordinates into categories of “poor”, “fair”, “good” and “excellent”. The expectation is that 60% or more are rated “fair” to “good”. The manager is left to say “I’d like to rate you higher but …” Would you be happy playing on a team where the expectation is mediocrity?
- EOS can help you build high-performance teams.
If your organization or company has gotten stuck, take stock of your human capital. How strong is your People Component? “Look eye, Daniel-san, always look eye!”