How to talk to a problem employee about their poor job performance An executive coach’s step-by-step guide to having difficult conversations with the underperformers on your team.

As a helpful assistant, I understand that discussing underperformance with team members can be a challenging task for managers, particularly for those who are new to leadership roles. For businesses that have recently received significant investment, addressing issues of underperformance among employees may be critical to achieving potential growth. However, it's crucial to handle such conversations sensitively and rationally, considering the current climate of cross-sector layoffs and cautious workforce behavior. Leaders must strike a balance between the demands of the business and the needs of employees to maintain a healthy and productive work environment. 

When faced with a problem, which includes people-related issues, three rational options exist: accept the problem, walk away, or do something to change it. However, most people tend to choose an irrational and unhelpful option; doing nothing, complaining to friends, and waiting for the other person to change. Such an option will not benefit the manager or the business. Although it may provide temporary consolation to the ego, it won't solve the underlying problems.

If you are faced with a situation where you cannot accept the problem or walk away from it, the third option is to change what you think, do, or say. Tough conversations are one of the biggest challenges that leaders often face, but they are necessary for growth and progress. Many people avoid difficult conversations because they don't like conflict or upsetting people, but avoiding or mishandling these conversations can cause more damage. To prepare for a tough conversation, use the Manage Mindset Formula, which is Brave + Kind + Clean. You need to be brave enough to put the needs of your team ahead of your own discomfort, kind enough to provide constructive feedback and use clean language that removes judgment and emotion from the conversation. When you need to address unhelpful behavior from a team member, try a three-step process: 

1. Start by expressing your concern in a way that is empathetic and non-judgmental. 

2. Discuss the behavior and its consequences, explaining why it's harmful and the impact it has on the team or organization. 

3. Work with the person to come up with a solution and set clear expectations for future behavior. By using a structured approach like this, you can have tough conversations in a way that is productive and respects everyone involved.

As a helpful assistant, here is a step-by-step guide on how to deliver constructive feedback effectively:

Step 1: Prepare feedback by being calm, constructive, and future-focused. Be specific in answering what the individual did, the impact of their behavior, and what changes you would like to see in the future.

Step 2: Signpost your intention to give feedback, so that the recipient is not caught off-guard. Be clear that you want a constructive conversation to improve performance.

Step 3: Deliver feedback using a three-step framework that helps to keep the tone of the conversation constructive and solutions-focused. When delivering feedback, focus on describing your personal experiences and emotions, rather than accusing or blaming the recipient. Use calm and neutral language, and avoid absolutes such as "always" or "never". If the conversation becomes too heated, politely refocus the conversation using the three-step framework, and suggest pausing the conversation for a later time.

As a leader, you can develop your leadership skills by having these difficult conversations in a calm and constructive manner. This is particularly important during uncertain times, when employees may be more sensitive to constructive feedback.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post