In today’s post I discuss the importance of focused – not sugarcoated – conversations with your staff – especially during one of “those” conversations! I provide some simple tips for preparing for important conversations.
As a manager and the owner of two companies, I have to say that I really hate having to have those difficult conversations with employees and contractors. You know the ones I am talking about. They’re the ones where we have to pull people aside to get them to refocus and prioritize. Of course we all hate the conversations where we need to fire someone but I am not talking about those conversations in this posting. The conversations I am talking about are the ones where we need to put on our coaches hat and “call it as we see it”, especially if employee’s behavior or non-performance is impacting our business.
Too often, managers tap dance around issues for fear of offending employees or hurting their feelings. What results through this attempt to be kind, is often confusion for the employee and frustration for the manager. A lack of respect for the manager may also develop if clear expectations are not expressed.
So here is a guideline to follow when you are getting ready for one of those conversations with an employee or contractor:
- Script out the conversation so you are clear on what you want to communicate to the employee. Note the issue or behavior that needs to be changed and be clear on the impact it’s having on the organization.
- In your conversation, be clear about the consequences should the employee or contractor decide to ignore your coaching.
- Ask the employee or contractor to restate what they believe is the issue and what changes need to occur.
- Set a follow-up date to meet again with the employee or contractor to be sure that they are meeting your expectations for change.
So, stop the sugarcoating. Take off your tap dancing shoes and get ready to have honest, focused conversations with your staff. Your success depends on it.
Are there things you do in advance to prepare for difficult employee conversations?
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