Dealing with performance issues is the most important duties we have as managers. It is one that no one enjoys. There is a simple five step process that will allow you to deal with any negative behaviour and hold people accountable. It forces the individual to explain why they didn’t comply with policies or why goals weren’t met rather than you explaining why the policies or goals were set and why they are important.
The basis of the conversation is that the individual understands and is aware of the policies and goals of the organization. I the case of the departmental goals, they were a part of the goal setting process.
The conversation should always take place in private.
Step 1. State what you observed. What did you see the person do? What did you hear, words and tone, when they were speaking to a staff member, fellow manager or customer? What is the variance from the agreed upon goal that was mutually set? What was reported to you? The conversation should open wit the words: “I saw.. ” or “I heard….” or “It was reported to me…” It is critical the the focus is solely on the inappropriate observed behaviour. Do not say anything like “I would like to talk about your negative attitude.” You can not determine anyone’s attitude. You can not manage attitude. Bad attitudes are manifested by bad behaviours. We can manage behaviours. We should set organization wide behavioural standards. Once we’ve done this, we can hold people accountable for their bad behaviours.
Step 2. Wait for a response. Do not speak. Let them respond. This is not easy to do.
Step 3. Remind them of the policy or missed goal. Let them explain their behaviour. They may try to divert the conversation. Remember to bring them back to their behaviour. Ask them what they are going to do. Do not attempt to justify the policy. or goal. The focus should be why they didn’t follow policy or reach he goal.
Step 4. Wait for a response. Let them respond. Do not speak. This is not east to do.
Step 5. Agree on a plan. They should tell you what they are going to do and when that will start. The words must come from their mouths. If you tell them what to do and by when, it’s your plan not theirs. If the behaviour continues, he conversation starts by your saying:”We discussed this issue and you stated you were going to…” This now puts the person in the position of explaining why they didn’t do what they had agreed to do.
This is a simple and powerful tool for holding people accountable.