Using Positive Redirection and Positive Response in the Workplace
Let’s explore two different, albeit extremely important leadership skills - positive redirection and positive response. Both concepts can help managers and employees deal with mistakes – as well as - achievements in the workplace. We will use examples from a fictional company, Do Right, Inc., to illustrate how these skills can be applied in various situations and contexts.
What is Positive Redirection?
Positive redirection is a way of addressing undesirable behavior or performance in a constructive and respectful way. It involves five basic steps:
- Describe the problem clearly and without blame
- Show its negative impact
- If appropriate, take the blame for not making the task clear
- Go over the task in detail and make sure it's understood
- Express trust and confidence in the person
The purpose of positive redirection is to refocus the person's energy and attention back to what they are supposed to do, or, if necessary, on to something else. It also helps to maintain a positive relationship with the person by avoiding criticism, accusations, or threats.
What is Positive Response?
Positive response is a way of acknowledging and appreciating someone's good work or effort. It involves four basic steps:
- Praise immediately
- Be specific
- Share positive feelings
- Encourage them to keep up the good work
The purpose of positive response is to reinforce the desired behavior or performance and motivate the person to continue doing well. It also helps to build a positive relationship with the person by showing care, respect, and gratitude.
Leading with a Positive Approach
A positive response is a way to let an employee or team member know that not only are they doing a good job; but that you care about them as a person and appreciate their contribution. We've all gotten the little pats on the back before; the "nice goings" and the "good jobs." And there's nothing wrong with those.
A positive response is more than that.
Examples of Positive Redirection and Positive Response
Here are several examples of using positive redirection and positive response from Do Right, Inc., a company that provides marketing services to various clients. We will analyze how each skill is used in the examples and what benefits it brings to the managers, employees, and the organization.
Example 1: Positive Redirection with a Team Member
Vanessa is the project manager of a team that is working on a branding campaign for a new client. She notices that there is some tension between Sara, one of her team members, and Nick, a new hire who needs to learn the ropes quickly. She decides to use positive redirection to address the issue with Sara.
Step 1: Describe the problem, without blame: Vanessa tells Sara that she asked her to work with Nick and get him up to speed, but she has noticed that there is some friction between them.
Step 2: Show the negative impact: Vanessa explains that they are under a tight deadline and that any conflict could jeopardize the project and their reputation with the client.
Step 3: Go over the task: Vanessa suggests meeting later with Sara to come up with some ideas on how to help Nick stay more focused and keep track of the details.
Step 4: Express trust and confidence: Vanessa tells Sara that she asked her to help Nick because she has a lot of patience and that she believes she can find a way to get him on track fast.
By using positive redirection, Vanessa achieves several goals:
- She avoids blaming Sara or Nick for the problem, which could make them defensive or resentful.
- She shows concern for the project and the team's performance, which could make Sara feel more accountable and responsible.
- She offers support and guidance to Sara, which could make her feel more valued and appreciated.
- She expresses trust and confidence in Sara, which could boost her self-esteem and motivation.
Example 2: Positive Redirection with a Co-worker
Mike is a data analyst who works closely with Reggie, another data analyst, on generating reports for various departments. He discovers that Reggie has sent out a quarterly progress report that is missing some fields that are required by the marketing department. He decides to use positive redirection to address the issue with Reggie.
Step 1: Describe the problem, without blame: Mike shows Reggie his tablet and tells him that the report he sent out is missing some fields.
Step 2: Show negative impact: Mike tells Reggie that the marketing department received the report data, but they can't use it… and that they are coming down on him hard.
Step 3: If appropriate, take blame: Mike admits that he probably should have highlighted the required fields for the marketing report, as it's easy to miss them.
Step 4: Go over task in detail: Mike tells Reggie that he will send him a template and asks him to pull the data again using it.
Step 5: Express trust and confidence: Mike tells Reggie that he understands he is behind on other reports, but that he has seen him work miracles with them before.
By using positive redirection, several goals are achieved:
- Mike avoids accusing Reggie of being careless or incompetent, which could damage their relationship or cause conflict.
- Mike shows empathy for Reggie's situation, which could make him feel more understood and respected.
- Mike takes some responsibility for the mistake, which could make Reggie feel less guilty or ashamed.
- Mike provides a clear solution and instruction for Reggie, which could make him feel more confident and capable.
- Mike expresses trust and confidence in Reggie, which could inspire him to do better and faster.
Example 3: Positive Redirection with an Employee
Vanessa is also the supervisor of Steve, a maintenance technician who is responsible for keeping the machines in good working order. She notices that one of the machines has not had any maintenance in over three weeks, which could cause a breakdown and production delays. Steve has been helping out in shipping when they get bogged down. She decides to use positive redirection to address the issue with Steve.
Step 1: Describe the problem, without blame: Vanessa tells Steve that she just came off the main floor and saw that the machine hasn't had any maintenance in over three weeks.
Step 2: Show negative impact: Vanessa tells Steve that the machine is older and that if it goes down, it would put them in a bind; considering the huge order they need to get done this week.
Step 3: If appropriate, take blame: Vanessa says that she didn't know Steve was helping out the shipping department and that she should have brought this to his attention sooner. She apologizes for that.
Step 4: Go over task in detail: Vanessa tells Steve that she needs him to get over to the machine today and walk through the standard maintenance protocols. She gives him a priority list of what to do.
Step 5: Express trust and confidence: Vanessa tells Steve that she knows he can handle it. She lets Steve know that the machine is a priority and that she knows it's in good hands with him.
By using positive redirection, Vanessa achieves several goals:
- She avoids criticizing Steve or making him feel bad, which could lower his morale or performance.
- She shows awareness of the situation and the consequences, which could make Steve feel more alert and responsible.
- She takes some blame for the problem, which could make Steve feel less blamed or attacked.
- She gives clear directions and expectations to Steve, which could make him feel more prepared and organized.
- She expresses trust and confidence in Steve, which could increase his loyalty and commitment.
It's a Philosophy
When it comes to directing and leading employees, nothing can match the power of positive relationships to deliver results for ourselves, and our organizations. To foster those relationships, we all need to wake up and say something positive... especially when things are going right. That's why using skills like redirection and giving people positive responses are so important.
It's a philosophy that has literally transformed organizations from places where nobody wants to come to work, nobody gets along, and everybody's watching out for number one - into positive, productive, passionate environments that are more than just profit places - they're people places. Places where people truly care about one another; not because they have to... but because they want to.
eLearning Programs... Ready to Implement!
Training solutions that foster effective workplace communication.
As a leader you must demonstrate your commitment to the organization’s culture of integrity, create an environment where employees feel safe to voice their concerns and hold all employees accountable for their actions.
You may be hearing someone during a conversation, but are you really listening? Are you actively listening? Active listening simply means being deeply engaged in and attentive to what the speaker is saying... as it requires more listening than talking.
Listening to your employees is absolutely critical in creating a highly motivated, committed, and fully-engaged work environment. In this course, we'll take a look at an example of this type of situation and spend some time talking about what we, as managers and leaders, should do to ensure that we are always approachable
Workplaces across the country are adjusting to a new reality. Due to communication differences among generations, communication styles can often be a problem.