The Toughest Workplace Conversations
Managing under performance has got to be one of the toughest parts of being a leader and quite often triggers the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism in both the Leader and the team member.
It can involve challenging and confronting conversations that people, in general, would prefer to avoid. Too often these conversations and approaches become highly scripted, and process driven to protect the people and organisations involved. This, in turn, decreases the humility and creates a defensive response. Too often it becomes a time consuming, stressful process and an unfavourable outcome for the employee, the leader, and the organisation.
The actual situation is what has led to the need to address the underperformance. The way in which we communicate and approach the process is what directly exasperates or resolves the situation.
It is well known that as humans, we don’t often like being told what to do, being told that we are wrong or that what we are doing is not good enough. Anyone put into that type of situation will likely have a triggered emotional response and it’s no wonder that for many it becomes ‘fight’ and defend. We quickly lose sight of what we want the outcome to be and get caught up in our own head and the natural sense of self protection.
While we know that there is a substantial financial impact to the workplace due to lack of performance, the time impact and the cultural impact is equally of concern. Tolerating or ignoring under performance causes extreme frustration in peers and will have their subconscious mind questioning their values, beliefs and priorities. In addition, the level of respect towards the leader will be in question.
The key to addressing any type of underperformance comes solely down to communication. It is the way we deliver the communication that will determine the outcome and the effectiveness of the process.
Here are my 5 tips to addressing under performance:
Everything about this process requires honesty, trust and transparency. These three fundamental attributes are achieved through communicating with emotional intelligence. Don’t get caught up in solely following procedures and ticking boxes that we lose basic humility along the way.
Most challenging or awkward conversations are overanalysed in our subconscious mind before they are even had, and anyone that is in an emotional hijack, cannot hear anything that anyone else is saying other than ‘Fight or Flight’. Disrupt the emotional hijack and over analysis and have an emotionally intelligent conversation.
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