Sunday, February 8, 2009

PROactive & regular appraisal Dialogue

Conflict is inevitable within an organization. Instead of always being reactive to conflict, leadership can be proactive to anticipated small scale or large scale conflicts that may occur within on organization. For example, the incorporation of regular feedback to subordinates, colleagues, and superiors allows for stronger lines of communication to occur. However, the communication must be genuine and sincere. Chapter 12 of the on-line book focuses on a preventative mediation approach entitled, "Negotiated Performance Appraisal." Although a third non-biased party is recommended to be present and validate the overall appraisal experience, I do not feel that this person is necessary. Frankly, if the two primary parties have established a trusting relationship prior to the performance appraisal, there may be significant apprehension in disclosing personal thoughts and feelings in the environment. I believe the key to any performance appraisal is conducting it after regular on-going communication has already naturally occurred between a subordinate/superior.

Often leadership devotes more time responding to problems and correcting mistakes and minimal time rewarding and praising the behaviors that make the organization as strong as it may be.

How often do we take time to give carefully considered praise? I support the author's suggestion of incorporating "critical incidents" to add additional value to work performance praise. For example, referring to a specific example of a time when the employee participated in positive work performance.

I believe leaders must be proactive and intentionally create regular dialogue with employees in efforts of minimizing and/or providing a more welcoming environment to address conflict when it arises. In addition to dialogue between superior & subordinate, there needs to be opportunities created for appraisal and feedback for peers within an organization. This, too, will help facilitate conflict resolution in the event that it occurs.

Conflict is oftentimes viewed as a "problem," and in Organizational Diagnosis and organizational learning theory, conflict plays an integral role in determining whether organizational learning occurs. Regardless of the magnitude of a conflict/problem, learning does occur. Also, both real and perceived problems or conflicts have an impact on organizational learning.

I conclude with a question: Is the majority of conflict within an organization a result of intrapersonal conflict (e.g. between self and values/beliefs of self & organization) and ultimately surfaces in a tangible, identifiable way? Or is it interpersonal conflict with other individuals within the organization? So, self vs. organization or self vs. another individual. It is difficult to separate the people out of an organization, but it is important to recognize that the organization also takes on a "self" identity although it may be comprised of multiple individuals within it.

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