Krug: You have to know you’re down to rebound
Krug: You have to know you’re down to rebound

Americans love a comeback story.

We trip or get knocked down. We dust ourselves off. We get back up. We go on. And then we succeed. It’s in our DNA.

Well, at least that’s the way it works in the movies.

In the office, the art of the comeback can be a bit more challenging.

For starters, a.....

Americans love a comeback story.

We trip or get knocked down. We dust ourselves off. We get back up. We go on. And then we succeed. It’s in our DNA.

Well, at least that’s the way it works in the movies.

In the office, the art of the comeback can be a bit more challenging.

For starters, an associate that has a foot out the door and another on a banana peel may not know that he is about to cross the threshold. For some, the most challenging part of making a comeback is being made aware that one is necessary.

Understatement of all-time: Feedback isn’t always free flowing.

What is the chief complaint about our work environments? That’s easy; study after study suggests that “communication” is by far the biggest issue facing American workers. Interested in reading one? There are a little more than 8 million results that take on the subject on a Google search. Take your pick.

Bad communication is a symptom of weak management, and it’s pervasive at all levels in companies of all sizes.

Not every associate is praised for good work, and probably fewer are redirected if they are not performing at expectations. If anticipated outcomes weren’t clear from the start, it’s unlikely that conversations about ongoing performance might be occurring at all.

If an associate is in a metric-driven role, and his numbers have been below goal for a prolonged period of time, he should have some awareness of his standing with the company. If he is compensated on commission – or through some other productivity measurement – he should have keen insight that something must change, or the change may be him.

Associates in work roles where the metrics cannot be as easily quantified are far less likely to know where they stand with management. Not everyone has his work summarized on a monthly commission summary.

If an associate is not receiving feedback, understanding whether his performance is at or below expectations is virtually impossible to gauge – scowls and grumblings from the “manager” notwithstanding.

Too many “managers” are opaque with regard to performance feedback. Some are conflict averse. Some just don’t have it in them to have the difficult conversation. Some can’t coach, or don’t want to, and have no interest in teaching.

Quick advice for those whose bosses keep them guessing: If you suspect that you’re in the doghouse, you probably are.

But taking the initiative to ask your supervisor to confirm your situation and how you arrived in that domicile is perfectly reasonable. And you should demand a straight answer with some details.

If a performance problem is present, and it’s been acknowledged, a clearly articulated path with a timeline should be established to correct the issue or issues.

In some cases, we dig our own ditches.

Sometimes we’re pushed into them.

Sometimes we need someone else to tell us that we’re actually neck deep.

Circumstances don’t matter much.

Workplace comebacks aren’t impossible. But they are when it’s a secret that one is necessary.

• • •


As always, stay classy.

Chris Krug is president of the progressive media communications firm No Limit Agency in Chicago. No Limit is a full-service agency whose practice focuses on strategy, brand management, creative campaigns and delivering unparalleled placement in the media. No Limit Agency works with some of the best-known brands in North America, and that’s not a coincidence. Contact Krug by calling 312-526-3996 or via email at [email protected].

ADVERTISEMENT