Case Study: The Right Response

Situation 1

Question 1

In this situation, the appropriate responses on the communication continua would be:

Solution giving Problem inquiry

Ignore feelings Empathize

Question 2

In the first communication continua, Joe might take more interest in actually hearing and finding out more about what Tina has been going through. It is obvious that Tina wants this because she opens up to share despite them being personal issues. It would be in both their interests for Joe to inquire more about the issue considering it definitely plays a major role in Tina’s behavior lately. After listening and finding out more information about the issue, Joe could move ahead and recommend a solution that will help Tina with her personal life as well as at work such as counselling to help her get through what she is going through by having somebody to talk to confidently and letting out any issues she may have. This will help her be in better shape for work and handle customers well.

For the case of the second response, Joe could better help Tina by empathizing with her situation. Considering that Joe had suspended Tina shows he is her boss which must have made it very difficult for Tina to even share her problems. Getting to the point of talking about one’s personal problems with their boss is normally the last resort which tells us things were really bad for Tina. Joe may empathize with Tina by saying that he understands how difficult being a single parent can be and appreciates the effort she makes to show up on time at work every day. Joe could even offer Tina a few days off to get herself together so that she is in better shape for work. This will make Tina feel appreciated and encourage her to work on her issues in order to give her best at work.

Related:  Case: Listening at Different Levels

Situation 2

Question 1

In this situation, the most appropriate response would be:

Absolute Conditional

Question 2

In this situation, it must be made clear that Tina’s behavior is acceptable without being rude and acknowledging her personal issues. Joe may say that he understands why it may be difficult to handle customers especially when one has their own things to deal with since they can be very demanding at times. However, he will make it clear that Tina should never handle customers the way she did again and that a repeat of the same could have much bigger consequences than just a three-day suspension. To help her not feel like there is too much pressure on her, Joe could move the conversation to the extreme conditional end by saying that Tina could sometimes ask for help from fellow colleagues to handle customers if she felt she was not in the right shape to do it. This would be much better and acceptable unlike her previous behavior.

Situation 3

Question 1

The appropriate responses that Joe should engage here are:

Solution giving Problem inquiry

Superiority Equality

Question 2

Here, Joe should first listen attentively to Tina’s reasons before trying to find a solution for her behavior. Joe could ask questions like, ‘what made you react that way?’ ‘Do you think you would have reacted differently under different circumstances?’ Such questions would help understand further what the real issue is then try to find solutions (Griffith, 2013). Joe could ask, ‘What do you think we can do to avoid this next time?’ This will give Tina an opportunity to contribute in developing a solution rather than Joe working on one alone.

Another suitable approach would be to help Tina understand that we are all human hence vulnerable to emotions which may at times get the best of us. Joe should avoid saying things like ‘why are you the only one with problems?’ This may make Tina feel hurt and extremely damaged beyond fixing. Instead, Joe could say, ‘We all make mistakes, but it is how we chose to fix them that matters.’ This will send an equality message that will make Tina feel understood, supported and able to make things right again.

Situation 4

Question 1

The appropriate response in this case would be:

Evaluative Descriptive

Question 2

In this situation, Joe may say ‘doing such a thing would be wrong’. This would be evaluative because of the lack of reasons or facts behind the decision (Gibson, 1991). Tina may leave the office but without an understanding of why what she was asking was wrong and start thinking Joe only wants to punish her more. Instead, Joe could say this:

Tina, personnel files are there for a reason. They help monitor the progress of an employee and the process of progress also involves some mistakes that unfortunately one must be held accountable for. Your recent disciplinary action is a reminder of a mistake that you did but it is not an identity of who you are or your performance at work. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes and try our best not to repeat them. Removing the record form your file may make you feel better but it is not the solution. From our conversation, it is clear that you understand why you behaved the way you did and the solution lies there.’

Situation 5

Question 1

The appropriate responses in this situation would be:

Solution giving Problem inquiry

Evaluative Descriptive

Question 2

Considering Tina is asking how she can perform her job better shows that she identifies her areas of weaknesses. Before Joe can answer her about performance deficits, she should be able to give those she has identified in herself personally. Joe could ask her questions like, ‘What are the areas that you have noticed need more of your effort? ’This will be an inquiry into the problem which will make Tina open up about her weaknesses before Joe can point out other performance deficits. Once this is covered, Joe can move on to solution giving part of the communication. In this part, instead of Joe taking over the conversation, he could make it a discussion by saying something like: ‘What steps do you think we can take to overcome these deficits?’ This will involve Tina in the process of finding a solution hence making it easier for her to actually apply the solutions she comes up with on her own than those given to her. Once Tina has given her solutions, Joe could give his feedback and also add more solutions to the list. This will show he was attentive and also supports Tina’s desire to do better in future.

When it comes to the second response communication continua, Joe should consider why Tina has chosen to come to him for this issue instead of going to somebody else. Being evaluative in responding to Tina would make her feel ignored n like she is a bother to Joe. Joe could say something like ‘you just work on whatever you feel you need to work out.’ That sounds like somebody trying to get rid of you because that response does not hold any useful information. This may make Tina get discouraged and loose interest in wanting to better her performance at work. Instead, if Joe applies the descriptive part of this continua, he could say something like:

Tina, there are various things that cause performance deficits with the main ones being motivational deficits and discrimination deficit. In motivational deficits, an individual possesses necessary skills but feels no desire to perform them. An example is socialization. One can have good people skills but have no desire to socialize with others. This can be overcome by addressing the roots of the issue and identifying why the desire is missing. When it comes to discrimination deficit, individuals have the necessary skills, are motivated but cannot discern when to use them (Cohen, 1980). For example, anger management is a skill but some people may fail to notice when they get angry hence fail to apply this skill. Therapy can help with most discrimination deficits. I believe you will work out your issues Tina, and with my help you will become a better employee that I know you can be.’

This descriptive response actually gives Tina information she can work with. It shows Joe cares and is ready to help her in her journey to better herself.

References

Cohen, S. (1980). Aftereffects of stress on human performance and social behavior: a review of research and theory. Psychological bulletin, 82.

Gibson, D. C. (1991). The communication continuum: A theory of public relations. Public Relations Review, 175-183.

Griffith, D. B. (2013). Conflict survival kit: tools for resolving conflict at work. New York: Pearson Higher Ed.

Case Review – Creating an Alternative & Motivating Performance Appraisal

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