The most often repeated piece of feedback is “The people who should be here in this training/presentation/speaking engagement are not here.”
What does that mean though, other than as a piece of feedback?
Typically, it means that the people in the hierarchical chain above the people attending the training are seen as part of the problem, rather than as part of the solution, by the people in the room.
It also means that the people in the hierarchical chain above the people attending the training are interested in maintaining the organizational “status quo” and not really moving forward to become part of the solution; by role modeling what the future might be like for the people in the room.
Either way, this piece of feedback is indicative of the appearance of members of management not really believing that conflicts, disputes, disagreements, or even fights in the workplace are all that important to deal with at the root.
This feedback also indicates that the attendees will probably continue to experience frustration in the organization; even as they implement all of their newly attained knowledge of how to engage with conflicts better.
And then, as the frustration mounts and the cognitive dissonance really kicks in, employees will either become more disengaged in the workplace—or leave the workplace altogether; creating a cycle of people who arrive, then get trained, get disillusioned and then leave.
Managers, supervisors, and others up in the hierarchical chain, can thwart all of this, but it requires an investment in finding the time many claim not to have in the short term, to play the long game in building an organization doing work that matters, in the long term.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org