I don’t think this employee is a long-term player. Thinking more along the lines of how much can I get out of the situation short term. How do I find out if I’m on target?
Thoughts of the Day: Do what’s uncomfortable: make your concerns known. Figure out how to tailor your message so that it will have the best chance of being received by the person you’re talking to. Check your ego at the door and listen carefully to what your employee has to say. Make sure you both have the same understanding of what’s expected and how that compares to what’s coming across now. Follow through until your concerns are resolved.
Make your concerns known.
Let your employee know that all is not right. Set up a time and place to meet where you both can talk freely. Have another manager attend to add perspective and take notes.
Prepare ahead by making a list of concerns illustrated with specific examples. Ask other managers to tell you if they’re seeing the same problems. Decide what you want the employee to do differently or better. Be specific. Come to the meeting prepared with examples of how things need to change.
If it’s only you who is seeing a problem, spend some time reflecting on why that is the case. If the employee reports directly to you, it may still be appropriate to proceed. If the employee reports to another manager, explain your concerns to the manager and jointly decide how best to proceed.
Listen carefully to what your employee has to say.
As the person in charge, it can be hard to relinquish control. Do it anyway. Give your employee permission to speak freely, even if it’s not all positive. Look at the situation from your employee’s point of view. If you need time to think, end the meeting early, schedule a follow up.
Figure out how to tailor your message so that it will have the best chance of being received by the person you’re talking to.
Some people are better listeners, some are better visually and some need hands-on to best understand information that’s being relayed. Some people can respond right away and others need time to think and process. Some people are oriented to think in terms of tasks, others focus more on the people around them. What are the orientations of the employee you’ll be meeting with? Tailor your feedback and instructions to a format that works best for your employee. Practice delivering your message in that format.
Make sure you both have the same understanding of what’s expected and how that compares to what’s coming across now.
Check that you and the employee are both on the same page regarding what’s going on. Use specific examples and ask the employee how they see the same situations. Focus on examples of what really happened. Explain what you’d prefer to have happen. Ask the employee to help you understand why things are happening the way they are. Explain what you want to have happen as a result of this meeting and get agreement from the employee that such a thing is possible. Clarify understanding by asking the employee to repeat back what’s expected.
Follow through until your concerns are resolved.
Giving feedback is a process, not an event. Be prepared for multiple interactions. Monitor behavior on a daily/weekly basis. Set times to get back together to discuss how things are going. If things are still off track, ask the employee why they think that is and what they think should happen next. Consider whether the problem is a lack of understanding, lack of skill or lack of motivation. Lack of skill equals arrange for training. For lack of understanding, ask another person in the company to work side by side with the employee and provide feedback on what’s going on. If things don’t improve, or if there’s a lack of motivation, consider whether it’s time to assign the employee to another job or ask the employee to leave the company.
Looking for a good book? Try “The Servant Leader: How to Build a Creative Team, Develop Great Morale, and Improve Bottom-Line Performance” by James A. Autry.
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535, AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com.