Five Tips for ‘Tough Talks’
Having what it takes to be in a leadership position is more than just being able to manage resources. Being a leader involves being there for people. Sometimes, being the leader that is there for people, also means having to have tough talks. Tough talks are, at times, essential to help other people grow and develop in their personal or professional development.
The most uncomfortable moments of your career will yield the most growth of those you share those moments. The tough talks you experience, if done correctly, can set a person up for a reflective look at their performance as well as the direction they are heading. Below are some tips to make the most out of an awkward conversation.
1 – Start with a goal in mind.
When you start to have your tough talk; know where you are heading with it especially if you are addressing a performance issue. Failure to do so on your part will make it look as if you are merely attacking a person. Remember, offer solutions, not just bring up problems.
2 – Be specific with examples.
It is a very frustrating thing to endure a conversation in which someone is being critical of your work, actions, or thought process but has no specific example of how you portray the deficiencies they are mentioning. If you critique someone as having a generally poor work performance, be sure to cite what makes the work product substandard.
3 – Address the issues promptly.
If you recognize an issue developing, do not let it fester. Address it quickly, do not allow it to become either acceptable performance or a bad habit. Additionally, if you are meeting with someone to discuss an issue, jump right in. Don’t sit around and circle the issue while making small talk. Chances are, the person may already know something is up, killing time adds to their anxiety.
4 – Point out good deeds.
There must be a building phase in addition to reprimanding. Surely each member of your team has some good quality about them. Either work-related or not, there is something about that individual that got them the job. Find that quality and build upon it.
5 – Develop a plan.
As a leader, it is unacceptable for you to identify performance issues, discuss them, and dismiss the employee back to their normal routine. To grow, you must develop the plan of action for them. You likely have the experience or resources to help each employee be successful. Garner input from the person having the issue and make sure there is a plan in place to rectify any problem presented before the end of the meeting.
By looking at these five tips before having a ‘tough talk’ with a member of your team, you can maximize your chances for success after the meeting. Remember, as a leader, you win with people. Please don’t allow them to fail and the organization will thrive.