When Clear Feedback Delivers No Change


Joe MullI was leading a half-day workshop for new healthcare managers at a practice group in the Midwest recently, when one of the participants, Marilyn, shared her frustration with how an underperforming direct report, Sue, was responding to feedback.

“Every time I address these issues with her,” Marilyn said, “Sue responds with deep anguish. She tells me how awful she feels, acknowledging that she knows she’s letting everyone down. She’s remorseful and apologetic, almost to the point of making herself a martyr. Then she goes out and…nothing changes..”

Despite multiple feedback conversations with Marilyn, Sue continues to show up late, not complete all of her responsibilities, and make errors along the way.

“She seems to genuinely feel badly, but I’m pretty fed up at this point,” Marilyn told me.

“Then it’s time,” I told her, “to stop discussing incidents and start discussing the pattern.” Continue reading


9 Strategies to Get Employees Talking in One-on-Ones

one word answers“How are things?” you ask.

“Good,” she replies.

“What’s been keeping you busy?”

“Normal stuff, I guess.”

“Like what? What are the kinds of things demanding your attention and effort these  days?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary.” Continue reading

Coaching vs Mentoring vs Feedback: What’s the Difference?

Coaching and MentoringBrowsing Twitter, LinkedIn, or your favorite business blog these days subjects you to a barrage of advice about what you should be doing to lead more effectively. Become a coach to maximize the performance of your team! Nurture a mentoring culture to bring the best out in people! Give constant feedback to engage employees effectively! But which one should you be focusing on? What’s the difference between them? Here’s a quick rundown:  Continue reading

Healthcare managers: Less Telling. More Asking.

telling vs askingMany managers get caught up in the part of their job that focuses on the dispensation of information. Indeed too many managers think that is the job. What they fail to realize is that their jobs often become easier and their teams function more effectively when they reign in their instructing, advising, directing, and informing. To get the most out of individuals and teams, managers at all levels should remember this simple mantra: Continue reading

“HELP! My new hire dresses like a slut!”

inappropriate dressIt happens again. The new front-desk attendant arrives to work in a low-cut, short, form fitting dress. She’s only been with the team for 3 months but everyone in the office has noticed.  Patients notice too. Some whisper about it in passing. Others make passive-aggressive comments out loud. The new girl doesn’t seem to notice. In fact, she seems completely oblivious to the issue.  What do you do?

Continue reading

Critical Conversations: 12 Tips for Effective Feedback

Business Discussion --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisI was recently asked to author a guest blog for Renee Thompson of RTConnections who is doing some terrific work in healthcare on a variety of subjects, most notably on nursing culture and nurse bullying.  I highly recommend you check out her website and pay regular visits to her blog.

The article I wrote is Critical Conversations: 12 Tips for Effective Feedback. Please check it out!  And many thanks to Renee for the opportunity to contribute! ~Joe

6 Times When You Should Call Instead of Email

avoid emailI’m guilty of it. It’s so easy to do.  I’m sure I’ve done it hundreds of times without even realizing it.

I’ve sent emails to people sitting just a few feet away from me.

I’m sure you know what I mean.  You’re sitting at your computer, cranking out a steady stream of answers and follow-ups, feverishly plowing through that endless to-do list…

And then it happens. Continue reading