When employees speak up, companies benefit. Thus not surprisingly, lots of leaders say they want to encourage their employees to speak freely, whether it’s by offering creative new ideas, identifying process improvements, or even calling out unethical behavior. But several studies suggest that leaders often undermine their own efforts to get employees to speak up.
Research by Ethan Burris, for example, has shown that leaders generally react quite negatively to employees who challenge them, even when employees do so constructively. Employees trying to resist certain changes or demands in non-hostile and constructive conversations are more likely to be labeled poor performers by their supervisors.
In ongoing research we are still conducting, we are finding that supervisor retaliation can go further than that. In a recent study, we examined the question whether those employees who speak up to their supervisors in constructive yet challenging ways are confronted with more abusive leadership.
We collected data from employees across a wide array of different industries in Belgium. Email invitations were sent to employees of these organizations requesting their participation in a web-based survey. These employees were then asked to invite a coworker familiar with their work to participate as well. We ended up with 138 employee-coworker dyads (for a total of 276 subjects). The employees answered questions about how abusive their supervisor was, while the coworkers answered questions about how much constructive resistance the employee showed towards his or her supervisor. Our analyses (while controlling for differences in education and industry) revealed that the more that employees were perceived by coworkers to show constructive resistance towards their supervisors, the more likely the employees were to rate their supervisors on a validated scale as showing abusive behavior towards them. Examples of abusive behavior included asking whether their supervisor ridiculed them, were rude, invaded their privacy, or gave them the silent treatment.
For managers who want to avoid these pitfalls and foster a speaking up culture, the research suggests several takeaways. One important one is to actively embrace constructive conflict. Rather than waiting for employees to speak up – thus risking their own professional reputations – start a debate. A structured debate can force multiple perspectives out into the open.
Another is to regulate your emotions. Whenever you feel threatened by something an employee says, think about whether you want to escalate a potential conflict further before you react. Don’t shy away from stating — in a direct and constructive way – your own point of view. But don’t let negative emotions come pouring out.
Finally, be aware of cultural differences. In some cultures, speaking directly is the norm; in others, people will say nothing but still mean something. In some cultures, for example, subordinates may not challenge leaders openly but may still disagree with you. In others, a blunt critique may just be the start of a good discussion.
For employees trying to speak up, we suggest starting by building trust. The simplest way to do this? Be good at your job. The primary cue for leaders to trust their employees is that those employees show that they are competent in the work they do. Of course, cultural differences in building trust also exist. In many Western countries, the idea exists that initially trust needs to be given by the leader to see how well employees will do, whereas in many Asian countries, it is tradition that the leader expects their subordinates to show that they deserve his or her trust.7
It’s also important to speak up as early as possible. If you do not provide feedback as early as possible, conflicts and frustrations are likely to build up, which ultimately may result in abusive responses.
Finally, of course, employees also have to regulate their emotions. Try to come across as a professional by being in control, and adopting a cooperative attitude. Make clear that you understand the complexity of your leader´s job and that you speak up to create joint value.
Building speaking up cultures is, on the whole, a good thing. However, senior leaders should be wary of encouraging employees to speak up without also training their middle managers in how to respond. Wise companies encourage both their managers and their employees to communicate candidly, without dysfunctional repercussions.
Black students in Missouri and the rest of the country are far more likely to receive out of school suspensions. And this school year St. Louis Public Schools became one of the few districts in the nation to ban out-of-school suspensions for its youngest students.
Officials say the move has pushed them to rethink student discipline.
“I think the policy did two things,” said Superintendent Kelvin Adams. “It forced us as a district to acknowledge that we had a problem. Secondly to force me as a superintendent to find resources to support schools and force principals to come up with different kinds of strategies to support kids in that building. I think it really changed everybody's mindset around what needs to be done to support the kid.”
Overall, suspensions were down in the district for all grades through the first four weeks of the school year, according to Adams.
By Graham Womack. Attempts at ‘restorative justice’ have become flashpoint in districtwide labor negotiations. Published on September 29, 2016 as News in the Local Stories section of the Sacramento News & Review
Basic Workshop: This 18-hour workshop presents conflict resolution skills through experiential learning exercises and practice with the goal of helping Direct Service providers and community members think about and make choices to reduce conflicts in work and everyday settings. The Basic workshop is required before participation in the Advanced workshop. Participants are expected to attend all three days of the workshop.
Date: October 7 - October 9, 2016 Friday, Oct 7 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm Saturday, Oct 8 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Sunday, Oct 9 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: AKTC Fairbanks Office 701 Bidwill Avenue, Suite 300 Fairbanks, AK 99701
People who have a clean record but who are caught shoplifting are being offered a choice by Wal-Mart’s security staff: They can admit guilt and pay $400 to take an online “restorative education” course; or the police will be called.
Offenders unable to pay the money up front have the option of paying $500 for the course in installments.
If the offender fails to pay the fee or finish the online class, Wal-Mart forwards its record of the crime to the police, who have agreed to press charges based on that information.
Dubbed the “Restorative Justice Program,” the new plan replaces a program designed by the Joplin Police Department to reduce officer visits to big box stores. A spokesman for Wal-Mart said that “Restorative Justice” would also serve to reduce police calls.
The high volume of shoplifting-related calls from large retailers poses a challenge to the department’s mission of patrolling the entire city, not just a few parking lots.
It has been almost 25 years, but Misty Wallace still tears up when she talks about the day in mid-October 1992 that she thought she would die. Now, Wallace is a soft-spoken but determined mother and wife who wears her blond, wavy hair in a no-nonsense ponytail that highlights her patient face. Back then, she was only 18 and a high school senior looking forward to attending college on a softball scholarship to study nursing, hoping to just “enjoy life and live life.”
“It was my year, my time,” she said.
Wallace recalls fighting with her boyfriend earlier that night, dropping him off, and thinking, “I wish I was dead.” The memory stuck with her because of what happened later.
She stopped to call her parents from a pay phone in an Indianapolis Burger King parking lot on her way home from visiting haunted houses with friends when a man approached her and asked if she was done with the phone. She told him that she was and hung up the phone, and the man shot her in the side of her face and jumped into her car. She says she will never forget the “calm look on his face, like he really wanted to use the pay phone.”
“Please help me,” Wallace called out. But her assailant left her on the ground, bleeding and in pain, her ears ringing from the shot, her face burned from the gunpowder.
Lying beneath the front wheel of her blue Mustang, by the phone booth, Wallace prayed that the car wouldn’t start. It didn’t. The assailant fled, and a stranger on his way home from work stopped to help Wallace, saving her life.
After multiple surgeries, Wallace remembers being in a hospital room, surrounded by her family members, who were in tears. “The hardest part,” she said, “was that I knew something was really wrong. I didn’t know what…. I said good-bye. I grabbed their hands so they knew I cared.” Wallace was still unable to speak. “That’s when I realized I could die at any point,” she said, wiping her eyes at the memory.
Her assailant was Keith Blackburn, who was also 18 and, as he puts it now, in trouble with gangs and drugs, quickly sliding downhill with no end in sight. He had once tried to shoot himself in the head and was saved only because his nine-year-old nephew leaped toward him and pushed him so that the gun shot a glass sliding door. That night, he had been on a robbery spree with his friends and needed a getaway car. So he decided to shoot Wallace and take her Mustang. The crime was wholly impersonal, just a means to an end.
RELATED: When a Policy Alone Is Not Enough
“For a long time, I denied what I had done,” he told me. He felt about the shooting as he would about a dream, even though he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempted murder. When asked what motivated him to change, he said that after he realized he didn’t want to spend his life behind bars, a fellow inmate told him to “change his nouns—the people, places, and things.” After that, Blackburn was transferred from his solitary cell to a group dorm, where he met a man who discussed passages from the Bible with him and made him rethink his relationship to himself and the world. He began to take responsibility for his crime and realized what he had done and how many people he had hurt.
She made the brave decision to meet with Adam while he was in prison, facilitated by a restorative justice service, and forgave him for his part in the crash.
Adam Hill, who lives in Lincoln, said: “As soon as I was convicted I requested that I speak to the girls to apologise to them.
“It was only really after the first police interview that I realised I was culpable for it. I had no recollection of the actual crash.
Rob Duke's insight:
This kind of victim is particularly well-suited for RJ....but that may be because of his previous social standing and a profound desire to be reintegrated. Those who were already ostracized may still be good candidates--even if they don't at first agree.
Sometime next year, Dane County will begin a pilot program that could better determine which people facing criminal charges should be granted signature bonds and which must post money to leave jail.
On Thursday, the Dane County Board unanimously agreed to accept a grant from the Houston-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation to try out the Public Safety Assessment program, which is used in about 30 districts across the U.S. to reduce jail populations and racial disparities. It uses data-driven criteria to help determine how likely a defendant is to show up in court or commit another crime while awaiting trial.
The $167,000 grant covers the cost of two county clerk positions to handle pretrial assessments. The pilot will last for 21 months, and the County Board can decide then whether the assessments are working to meet goals of racial equity and lower jail costs.
Dane County Circuit Judge Nicholas McNamara, lead criminal judge in Dane County, said that under state law, magistrates who make bail decisions have to determine whether bail is necessary to assure the person’s appearance in court, and if so, the minimum amount of bail that’s necessary to achieve that.
It’s not an easy decision to make. The PSA program, McNamara said, offers the decision maker, who in Dane County is usually a court commissioner, a scored matrix that weighs risk factors to help reach that decision. During the pilot program, he said, everyone who comes to court will be assessed and given a score, but commissioners will only be given the assessment score for a randomly assigned half of defendants.
At the same time, Harvard University will be gathering that data for its study on use of the PSA, McNamara said.
“The study will see if the PSA aids the magistrate in making the best decisions,” McNamara said.
While the PSA will help decide who gets a signature bond and who gets cash bail, McNamara said, it won’t help determine how much cash should be set, which will remain a decision that individual commissioners will have to make.
Since the grant is only now being secured, none of the stakeholders in the program have been trained, so it will be several months before the PSA is used in court, McNamara said.
Among the challenges faced by today’s police officers is trying to stay abreast of the latest fashions in law enforcement training. The challenge is all the greater when those fashions are dictated by politics, and greater still when adhering to them can get you killed. Witness the lates
ENUMCLAW, Wash. -- A grief-stricken father whose son was killed in a car crash says he forgives the young driver. The 18-year-old is accused of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault in what was supposed to be a night of fun at a bonfire.He was a good ki
The dream of a place at the Rio Olympics is for sports people the pinnacle of their career, but imagine having that aspiration shattered by a horrific car accident. That is what happened to Kate Hunter from Lincolnshire after the car she was travelling in was hit by a dangerous driver, which left her with life changing injuries.
In November 2015, nearly two years after the accident, Kate was able to forgive the man who was driving the car, after she took part in a Restorative Justice programme, run by Restorative Solutions. Through the service, commissioned by the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, facilitators were able to work with Kate and support her to meet the offender.
Suzanne McLardy, was the facilitator, she explained how she was able to support Kate.
“Kate really wanted the opportunity to meet Adam who was the driver of the car responsible for the accident. We had a number of meetings where I explained how the Restorative Justice process works and when she was ready, I arranged for Kate to meet Adam at HMP North Sea Camp. The meeting enabled Kate to express her feelings and address the anxieties she had”.
Kate Hunter’s mother Sue explains how the process has helped her daughter
“In the days that followed the court case she really struggled and expressed a wish to be able to write and/or meet with the perpetrator. I contacted the Restorative Justice Team at Lincoln who were really lovely and arranged to come to our home and discuss the process. Over the weeks that followed we had a number of meetings where the procedures were explained to us in great detail ensuring that my daughter was made aware of every eventuality in the process. This was done with kindness, empathy and compassion and made us feel very secure
Without the Restorative Justice system, this negative would never have become a positive and I believe it is vital people understand how important this system is and how it can help people move forward and give them peace of mind”.
As co-chair of the New York County Lawyer's Association's Criminal Justice Section, Bickford has an opportunity to address criminal justice issues. He organizes continuing legal education courses and forums on such matters as the plight of women in state prisons—including the impact of incarceration on their children—and the ethical implications of Brady, in which prosecutors must disclose evidence that is favorable to defendants. Another session Bickford held was on the emerging field of restorative justice, which attempts to go beyond punitive penalties to address the needs of crime victims, offenders and affected communities. It calls for victims to explain their suffering and loss due to the offender's actions, a process that calls for the participation of offenders, as well. In contrast, many similar cases going through criminal courts involve negotiations between attorneys without any discussion of the crime and its impact. "The humanity of the cases are sometimes lost because of the nature of the adversarial system, where cases are just processed as widgets," he said. "And everyone walks away without a sense of justice." Bickford also co-authored a report examining recent state legislation to overhaul the state's bail statutes. Working with the New York City Bar Association's criminal courts committee, he is participating in a study examining the city's efforts to divert the mentally ill from the criminal court system. The findings are expected this fall.
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