How to Correct Your Staff with Class

Share what you appreciate about them

In almost all cases, what is great about a team member far exceeds what needs to be corrected. I think we need to emphasize this truth and make sure we take time during the conversation to recognize all that the individual already contributes. If there is more bad than good, you’ve hired badly and you can’t dump that on them, you have to own it.

Declare your intent

Make it clear why you are having this conversation in the first place; the worst thing you can do is talk around the issue and hope the person “gets it”. You need to have the courage to say that you are trying to help them correct an issue but also declare your intent to help them improve going away from this encounter.

Own your failures

Sometimes as leaders we do things to contribute to negative behaviours in our team. Make sure you take a good look at yourself and see where you may have let this person down. If you are partly to blame, be honest about it and apologize – humility is far too undervalued as a leadership quality these days.

Help them to see how their behaviour is hurting their career

Don’t make this conversation about how this person is making your job harder. Don’t dump your difficulties on your staff. You need to shoulder these on your own; that is part of being a leader. Take time to help them see how their behaviour (real or imagined) is affecting people’s perception of them and how long-term it could hold them back from their goals.

Help them envision what a change in behaviour will accomplish for them/organization

Now that you’ve helped them see the negative, help them envision a preferred future. As a leader you are called to have vision, not just for yourself but for the organization and the individuals that make it up. Use those skills for the benefit of the person you’re correcting, take some time and help them see where you see them going. It is reassuring to know that your boss is looking out for your career and has plans to help you succeed. It inspires both confidence and trust, so don’t skip over this portion quickly.

Have ideas about how you can help them be successful

Too often managers identify issues, but aren’t willing to walk beside someone to help them get better. If you really want to encourage someone to change, you have to help them figure out the how, and then work with them to achieve this. If you want to convince a subordinate that you are “for them” then get your hands dirty and do all you can to help them be successful, create a plan, some action steps and follow up.

By taking the time to walk through these steps with your staff you’ll inspire confidence, trust and loyalty – commodities that are in short supply in most organizations.

Have you ever had a boss correct you well? What made it a positive experience?
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Posted on August 8, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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