Alternative action for CEO's criticising a team member

When Neil & I are working with CEO's who are having difficulty with an essential member of their team, a root cause can be how they critique their performance when the the rest of the team are complaining about it.


The Havard Business Review recently published a blog by Roger Schwarz on 'How criticizing in private undermines your team.'  He challenges the concept publicised by Ken Blanchard 30 years ago in 'The One-Minute Manager' to 'praise in public, reprimand in private'. 


The ensuing discussion is rich in thinking, and worth looking through, bearing in mind the key points that:

  • This about encouraging the accountability to and by the team, rather than re-directing accountabiltity to the leader, so that the team solves the issue at stake
  • For this to happen, the ethos must be demonstating curiousity and compassion while correcting any behaviours, (including the leader's) to get to the solution rather that blaming, or highlighting right and wrong - or put another way, changing from "What the HELL is this?' to 'What is this?'
  • This approach is suitable for team accountability issues, not for performance review matters, where privacy is still the best place to bottom out poor performance


So you might be having having difficulties with a critical team member, who's performance within the team is crucial to the success or the team, to you and the entire company.  Yet the behaviours described in this article are not your current style, and you suspect they should be.  Come to us for help to sort it out so that the team can move forward again.


Here is the link to Roger Schwarz's article, and we suggest you take the time to read the discussions to get a richer understanding.

We are so often focused on what we are doing, that we lose sight of where we are going.