If you’re a manager or boss, having difficult conversations with employees comes with the territory. everywoman’s Kate Farrow explains how to ensure things go smoothly.
Many managers struggle to give constructive feedback to their direct reports – a survey by Interact found 37% are worried about a potentially negative reaction.
The survey also found the majority of bosses (69%) are uncomfortable communicating with employees in general terms – from giving clear directions to holding one-to-ones.
Unfortunately, tough conversations are a fact of business life, and there will undoubtedly be times when tackling behaviour is necessary. Here are three ways to approach that difficult chat.
Imagine a scenario where two employees both miss a critical deadline. One person’s mistake is attributed to a bulging to-do list or a family emergency, the other to what you perceive to be their current lack of motivation and reliability.
The latter is an example of the fundamental attribution error, whereby we attribute people’s behaviour to their core character rather than to their situation.
In order to enter a problem-solving mindset, you must first ensure you’re not holding any pre-existing biases.
Try to remove emotion, set aside any filters through which you might be viewing the situation and examine it as an objective observer might.
Even if you ultimately decide the reason for the deadline failure was poor reliability, by examining the subject from various angles, you might have uncovered your direct report’s likely defence and can therefore prepare accordingly.