09
Jun
08

Tuff Stuff: Leave nothing unsaid

You’re getting ready to do a performance evaluation with a key employee. There have been behavior and performance issues that have surfaced a while back that you had hoped were temporary and would just fade away. But, as they often do, the issues continued and now they are beginning to impact other members of your team. You know this employee is highly sensitive to constructive feedback and the process often produces all kinds of drama, emotions and funk. Because of this, getting into the tough stuff with this employee always produces a knot in your stomach.
So, the evaluation begins. You navigate through the process until you reach that point where all that remains is the tough stuff. You feel like you’ve cornered a wild beast and you’re just trying to find the best moment and angle to capture it without getting mauled. And then it happens – you ask the employee if she has any questions and you end the evaluation. You hesitated. You left essential things unsaid. You wimped out. You compromised.
This scenario gets played out in business every day. You see behavior and performance issues and for some reason, you just fail to engage. Interestingly, it only occurs with certain individuals when your pre-conceived mental picture of the process and the immediate fallout cranks up your anxiety levels high enough to hit the compromise button. To make matters worse, you beat yourself up for missing the opportunity to address a growing problem that will only continue to escalate.
Here are some red-hot strategies to ensure that you leave nothing unsaid:
* Just get it over with: When it comes to confronting reality and dealing with the tough stuff, if you hesitate you lose. That’s it. Address it and move on. Lingering issues do more damage to the performance of the business. More importantly, allowing issues to linger means you’re allowing contamination to infect your culture.
* Focus on the desired outcome: It’s easy to get stuck in the emotions and stress of addressing highly sensitive and seemingly explosive issues. Help yourself and the employee by focusing attention on the desired outcome. Doing so gives purpose to the process and that addressing the tough stuff today will create a better tomorrow.
* How bad did it get before you engaged? Here’s the real kicker. If you’ve observed and even acknowledged that a behavior and performance problem exists and did nothing, you compromised your leadership role. Had you engaged when the problem surfaced, the probability of it going critical is greatly minimized.
* What’s the worse that could happen? OK, the employee may get so upset that he or she quits. Is that a bad thing? Typically when behaviors and performance head south, the ripple effect can degrade performance and create distractions throughout a department or even the entire company. If your respectful efforts to help an employee grow and prosper are met with a resignation, consider it a favor. Accept the resignation and open the windows to allow fresh air in.
One of the most challenging aspects of being a no-compromise leader is the ability to engage in open and constructive dialog with employees on behavior and performance issues – and to do so when the issues surface. Hesitate today and you’ll just have a bigger problem tomorrow.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends They’ll appreciate it.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO

confrontation2You’re getting ready to do a performance evaluation with a key employee. There have been behavior and performance issues that have surfaced a while back that you had hoped were temporary and would just fade away. But, as they often do, the issues continued and now they are beginning to impact other members of your team. You know this employee is highly sensitive to constructive feedback and the process often produces all kinds of drama, emotions and funk. Because of this, getting into the tough stuff with this employee always produces a knot in your stomach.

So, the evaluation begins. You navigate through the process until you reach that point where all that remains is the tough stuff. You feel like you’ve cornered a wild beast and you’re just trying to find the best moment and angle to capture it without getting mauled. And then it happens – you ask the employee if she has any questions and you end the evaluation. You hesitated. You left essential things unsaid. You wimped out. You compromised.

This scenario gets played out in business every day. You see behavior and performance issues and for some reason, you just fail to engage. Interestingly, it only occurs with certain individuals when your pre-conceived mental picture of the process and the immediate fallout cranks up your anxiety levels high enough to hit the compromise button. To make matters worse, you beat yourself up for missing the opportunity to address a growing problem that will only continue to escalate.

Here are some red-hot strategies to ensure that you leave nothing unsaid:

  • Just get it over with: When it comes to confronting reality and dealing with the tough stuff, if you hesitate you lose. That’s it. Address it and move on. Lingering issues do more damage to the performance of the business. More importantly, allowing issues to linger means you’re allowing contamination to infect your culture.
  • Focus on the desired outcome: It’s easy to get stuck in the emotions and stress of addressing highly sensitive and seemingly explosive issues. Help yourself and the employee by focusing attention on the desired outcome. Doing so gives purpose to the process and that addressing the tough stuff today will create a better tomorrow.
  • How bad did it get before you engaged? Here’s the real kicker. If you’ve observed and even acknowledged that a behavior and performance problem exists and did nothing, you compromised your leadership role. Had you engaged when the problem surfaced, the probability of it going critical is greatly minimized.
  • What’s the worse that could happen? OK, the employee may get so upset that he or she quits. Is that a bad thing? Typically when behaviors and performance head south, the ripple effect can degrade performance and create distractions throughout a department or even the entire company. If your respectful efforts to help an employee grow and prosper are met with a resignation, consider it a favor. Accept the resignation and open the windows to allow fresh air in.

One of the most challenging aspects of being a no-compromise leader is the ability to engage in open and constructive dialog with employees on behavior and performance issues – and to do so when the issues surface. Hesitate today and you’ll just have a bigger problem tomorrow.

Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends They’ll appreciate it.

Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership

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