Counselors, how do you handle it when students make their process—and your job—more difficult than it needs to be?
It might be a student who consistently missed appointments, or never remembers to email essays for you to review, or who refuses to completely engage in the process even though deadlines are approaching?
The Gallup Organization’s groundbreaking book on management, First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, shares the following example of how great managers handle similar situations with employees.
A talented employee repeatedly shows up late for work. What would you do? Would you fire him? Give a verbal and or written warning? Lock the door and refuse to let him in if he’s late?
The best managers—and this is based on 80,000 manager interviews—all gave a similar reply that summed up their attitude about the relationships they strived to cultivate with each employee.
“I would ask why.”
An employee could be repeatedly late for a number of reasons, ranging from job dissatisfaction, to a change in bus schedules, to a problem at home. The second step for great managers might then be to take any number of different actions to address the problem. But the first step is always to ask why.
Like employees, your students won’t always have a legitimate or acceptable excuse. But you won’t know until you ask why.