Earlier this week, I addressed a question that I was asked during a recent leadership development training program for a new supervisor group.
In this same program, a second question that was asked of me by a participant was this one: I have only been a new supervisor for just three months, but one of my employees has a standard response whenever I ask him to do something he doesn’t want or like to do. He says “the last supervisor never asked me to do that” or “this wasn’t a big deal for the last supervisor.” Any tips on how to effectively respond to him?
First, it may appease you to know that this statement – “the last supervisor never made me do that” – is not as unusual as you might think. It’s actually quite a common response by some employees because … well, it works! For the employee that is! Often, when faced with this situation, many new supervisors don’t know how to respond, so the employee gets away with not doing the task. The key of course in overcoming this is knowing how to respond.
Here’s how to respond
The next time you have an employee that says “The last supervisor never asked me to do that”, you respond with “[name], the last supervisor may have had different expectations of you, but my expectation is that you will [fill in the blank]. Repeat as necessary. This is what we refer to as the “broken record” technique, and quite frankly it works quite well. Try it!
So how have you responded to this situation? Have you tried the broken record technique? Has it worked? If not, what else have you tried? Please share.
P.S. Please no smart-aleck comments about the word “record”. 🙂 I am well aware that many of you younger readers haven’t actually ever listened to a record, let alone to a broken one. But suffice to say, broken records repeat themselves, which is the point of this particular technique.
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