How to Handle Tough Conversations With Your Employees

Holding discussions on poor performance, results or conduct may not seem like a huge deal until finally it’s your turn to initiate one.

These tough conversations are some of the most critical discussions people have in the workplace, and that means the better you handle these situation, the better you are doing your job. For supervisors ,the skill and desire to confront office turmoil can help you resolve your team’s issues.

Furthermore, the capacity to effectively hold tough discussions means an increased chance of recognition and advancement.

Broaching the subject

First, you need to acknowledge and accept when it is time to hold a difficult conversation. Many times, supervisors let issues get worse and worse out of a desire not to confront the issue directly. Not being that person is the first step toward effectively dealing with tough talks.

What is the goal?

After deciding it is time for a talk, it’s important to determine what you would like the conversation to achieve. In any challenging discussion, there is just a one outcome you want: a change of behavior.

For many situations, this means showing someone they need to stop or start doing something. For extreme cases, the goal of a difficult conversation might be to terminate someone or end your business relationship.

Get ‘er done

Once you know what you are trying to achieve, set up a meeting for the following day. Understand that as soon as the employee gets your invitation, they’ll begin to wonder, stress, speculate or all three. You should not blindside someone with a confrontation or leave them in the dark for a long period of time.

In the meeting, pay particular attention to your tone. Avoid coming off as angry, judgmental, snarky, mean-spirited, imposing, threatening or otherwise negative in any way. Letting your emotions take control of your tone is not only counterproductive, it could put you in a tough spot if the employee decides to take the issue over your head or retaliate in some from.

Do your best to calmly let the person know you have a problem with the way they are doing their job, and not with them as a person. Let the person know your feedback is related only to the current workplace situation, not to issues outside of work or from years ago.

Finally, give the person a roadmap to change their behavior and get back on the right track. This includes laying out the positive things that will happen if improvements are made, and the consequences of not making those changes.

Close the conversation by letting the person know when the next time you will be checking in to see how they are making progress.

At Labor Temps, we understand that many tough conversations can be avoided by simply making sure the right people are brought into the right jobs. If your organization is looking to partner with a company that works tirelessly to provide great employees, please contact our team today.