When it comes to communicating with your employees, don’t whitewash! Let me explain.
Sometimes, when a supervisor or team leader wants to convey a negative message, there is a tendency to address the message to the large group rather than specifically towards the person is intended for. Let me give you a quick example that I have observed with many managers. Let’s say there is one employee in the department who is frequently coming in late to work. Rather than address the issue specifically with the tardy employee, the supervisor instead sends out an e-mail to the entire department reminding everybody of the work hours for the department and the importance on being on time. This is called whitewash. Instead of dealing with a specific issue, the supervisor has instead broadcast a blanket message to everybody, in the hope that the one person who really needs to hear it, will. And of course that just won’t happen! The one person who really needs to hear the message won’t. The one person who really needs the message will think it applies to everybody else. And everyone else, who has been coming in to work on time, is tarred with the same dirty brush because a blanket message was delivered to all. Don’t whitewash! If you have to deal with a problem behavior, then address it specifically to the person who is at fault.
Not only is whitewash completely ineffective in halting the problem, but it is also disrespectful to your other employees. What do you think?