Having Difficult Conversations with Employees
If you manage employees, there are always going to be situations where you’ll have a difficult conversation. Any time an employee does substandard work or acts in an inappropriate manner you need to have a discussion. Here are some guidelines that I have used in dealing with challenging exchanges with employees:
Always give feedback one-on-one behind closed doors unless there is a concern for your safety, in which case there needs to be at least one other person present. Don’t beat around the bush. Say what you have to say in clear language that is easy to understand. If an employee’s performance or action is unsatisfactory, tell him/her what he/she needs to do to improve the situation. Make clear the consequence of not improving.
I’ve learned the more of these tough talks you have the easier it gets to do them, but it’s never simple or easy. Many employers avoid these conversations because they are uncomfortable and don’t like conflict or confrontation. But the problem with letting it go is that in general, problems get worse not better. The sooner you deal with it, the better it will be for both parties.