The other day, I was watching NBC and one of their infamous “The More You Know” commercials came on (see below).
NBC has come out with a number of these commercials over the years to include different celebrities and topics, but the message is typically the same in that you can make a difference, influence for the better, and impact others to do the same. As I reflected back on the commercial and the many commercials I had seen over the years, I thought about a PSA for the workplace.
Think about it, how many managers could use a PSA reminder once in a while to reinforce their ability to make a difference, influence for the better, and impact others to do the same? The answer: a lot.
Through my years in human resources, I have seen many managers focus on documenting performance or behavior versus communicating and coaching – even in some instances zeroing in on a way to impose a punitive result. Why? Because it is easier to document versus coach – it doesn’t require as much effort and it doesn’t require the manager to get involved personally. For instance, take the PSA regarding your brain on drugs. It is direct, hard-hitting, and you either get it or you don’t. There is not much conversation in between. Many messages unfortunately come across like this in the workplace.
Now, there are situations that dictate the need to document the performance issue at hand, the the conversation is direct, and you either get it or you don’t. However, how many times do we run into situations where a manager just went from 0 to 10 with their approach to discuss something with an employee? To provide an example of what I mean going from 0 to 10, take this PSA spoof from Conan:
Conan informs us that if we choose to fight versus walk away, hit the person with a board preferably when they are not looking. Hmm….can you recall instances where employees have been hit when they were not looking? Sure you can. Have these incidents resulted in an escalated discussion or possibly a complaint to HR? I am sure a couple of them have. The key thing to remember when situations like this arise is to refresh the manager or employee of their “the more you know” content they have gathered through experience over the years. Additionally, take this opportunity to have open, honest, and timely dialogue around the issue and how they can impact it for the better.
So let’s say you were in charge of putting together a PSA for your workplace, what would it look like?
If I could publish a PSA for managers in the workplace, it would look something like this – it is more influential than a 0-level PSA, but not as direct and non-emotional as a 10-level PSA:
Would you ever want to face a situation where you felt you were being singled out, written off, disrespected, ignored, or lied to? What about if you were in a situation where you felt like you had to obtain a lawyer to get fair treatment?
Then these are even more reasons to listen to your employees, make a difference, influence for the better, and impact them to do the same in their everyday work.