December 2; Can A Fearful Employee Give Honest Feedback? MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:365 Daily Bible Verse &One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful
There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18
|Can A Fearful Employee Give Honest Feedback?|
“We could do that,” said my key senior manager. “But it wouldn’t be right…”
It was a direct confrontation delivered ever so softly. He would do this when I was about to go in some random direction. I would make a blundering move, occasionally. (OK, maybe not so occasionally.) And he’d be ready with a course correction suggestion.
I would be swerving like a drunken driver and he would guide me back to the straight and narrow.
He was such a pain in the backside.
I didn’t know how lucky a manager I was.
In World War II, General Albert Coady Wedemeyer was a key aide to the Army Chief of Staff George Marshall, and he,
…knew that one of Marshall’s most engaging characteristics was his detestation of yes-men. He could not stand, and would not tolerate, people who failed to give honest opinions when asked for them.
Once…Wedemeyer…got into a heated argument with Winston Churchill…
Afterward, [Wedemeyer] had apologized to Marshall for having talked back to such a distinguished statesman. He ought to have kept his mouth shut or chosen his words with more care. Marshall had stopped him in his tracks. “Wedemeyer,” he had said, “don’t you ever fail to give me the benefit of your thinking and your knowledge and experience.”
“I would have jumped into Niagara Falls after that for General Marshall,” Wedemeyer said. “That’s the way I felt about him.” (Mosley, 1982).
And if you cannot give feedback then quit the position. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld advises,
Be able to resign. It will improve your value to the President and do wonders for your performance (Rumsfeld 2013).
Because the mature manager will regret not resigning—when the times demand it.
Army Chief of Staff Harold K. Johnson knew that President Lyndon Baines Johnson was leading the country in the Vietnam War in the wrong direction. General Johnson said that he had decided to resign, but vacillated explaining,
…then on the way to the White House, I thought better of it and thought I could do more working within the system than I could by getting out…And now I will go to my death with that lapse in moral courage (Ricks 2012).
This is the Virtue Gap. This is the gap between the right decision and the action actually taken. The greater the difference between what should be done and what is done, then the greater the unhappiness. The good general knew the right course of action. But he took a course of action miles apart from the appropriate path.
General Johnson was plagued by the gulf; the conflict produced severe disharmony; anguish. He suffered. The country suffered.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
Rumsfeld, Donald (2013-05-14). Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life (Kindle Locations 4004-4005). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Leonard Mosley, George Marshall, Organizer of Victory, page 366.
Ricks, The Generals page 258