If you have staff on your team who aren 鈥檛 responding to you it may be because
they are getting some benefit from it. These staff are often called Passive Aggressive
staff. They may seem quiet perhaps sullen but they can be quite manipulative and
quietly aggressive in getting their own way.Here are the coaching techniques you can
use to address this.
Perhaps a staff member just isn 鈥檛 responding because they are intentionally
trying to hide the fact that they have done something wrong. In stead of being honest
and upfront, they remain intentionally quiet while everyone tries to get to the bottom
of the problem. Their unresponsiveness is a passive way of dealing with something
that they feel really uncomfortable about.
Alternatively, their unresponsiveness can be calculated aggression because they want
to intentionally hurt or control other people.
Both are Passive Aggressive strategies.
The first thing a manager needs to do is to encourage them to talk, and that 鈥檚 not
easy. You 鈥檒 l need good communication skills and the ability to ask open questions.
That 鈥檚 what we teach in our online Coach Training for New Managers.
These are the questions that don 鈥檛 just have a yes or no response. They 鈥檙 e
questions that start to dig a bit deeper. 鈥淭 ell me a little bit more about what 鈥檚
going on for you.鈥?It 鈥檚 not a yes or no answer.
The other technique is what 鈥檚 called the friendly silent stare. That is the
quizzical look. You 鈥檙 e asking the question and you 鈥檙 e sitting there, and you
raise your eyebrows. Give them time and space to talk. You give them a bit of time.
You actually say: 鈥淚鈥檝 e noticed that this is happening, or this isn 鈥檛
happening. Can you tell me a little bit more about it? What 鈥檚 the situation? What
鈥檚 going on for you?鈥?
Don 鈥檛 rescue them by giving in first to the silence.
Create the uncomfortable silence and let them sit in it. Keep waiting. Be silent. Be
genuine but resolved to discover why they feel the way they do.
If you are genuine and calm but firm in your resolve that they open up and discuss
what 鈥檚 going on, you may find that they begin to talk after only a few minutes.
Keep asking the open questions. Your goal is to understand why they feel miserable
enough to act this way. You may find that your style or particular staff or departmental
processes and rules have all been contributing to their misery. Now you can address
Sometimes a manager/coach has to be tough first in order to be kind.
You can buy the coaching script in our 鈥淐 oach Talk for Managers 鈥?e-book or
listen to an expert interview on this subject from our on-line store.
Juliette Robertson is an Executive Coach and Business Owner offering webinar
based Coach Training for new managers in "How to Coach Your Staff to Step Up and
This action based 7 module coach training includes webinar lectures, coaching
sessions with your staff and live coaching tutorials online with qualified coaches to
fast track your coaching skills. Register here for 60 minutes of free webinar based
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