Correction vs Re-Direction

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Do you ever get tired of correcting your team (or spouse or kids)?  Well, if you’ve ever read the book “Whale Done”, you know that trainers figured out early on that you can’t “Correct” a killer whale, but you can “Re-Direct” it instead to accomplish the same thing!  While your team members are certainly not the same as a pod of killer whales (I hope), they probably prefer the same approach to helping them choose better actions when they need help doing so.  So what does Re-Direction look like in the workplace?

When team members make poor choices at work, there are several ways to handle this, and the correct method depends on the circumstances.

When you find yourself giving the same instruction/correction over and over, try “What did we agree you would do when this came up again?” or “What did we do/say the last time this happened?”

When people go around the chain of command, try “What did <supervisor> say when you asked her?”

When people stray from their work area/priorities, try “What did <supervisor> want you to focus on when you finished your daily checklist?” or “What did <supervisor> say when you asked him what you should work on next?”

I could go on, but hopefully you see the point and value of this approach.  Don’t confront people; they just put up barriers and prepare for a fight.  Focus on effectively helping them recognize that they made a poor choice and then help them make a better one.  They’ll know exactly what you are saying, but you won’t give them an opportunity to make excuses for their behavior, you’ll give them the opportunity to take Responsibility and Own it.

Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY


Correction vs Re-Direction