Make Hard Conversations Easier!
Have you ever had a team member who is not performing up to your expectations? You’re probably facing a difficult discussion, and It’s hard to approach the subject without making things feel uncomfortable or awkward. However, when you have a plan beforehand, you can make hard conversations easier.
FIRST: Have a Gameplan
If you want to talk to somebody about a serious topic, the last thing you want is to jumble your words. Make it clear. Think about exactly what you need from them. This exercise gives your mind time to think and articulate your thoughts, so emotions don’t misstate your intentions.
SECOND: Focus the Topic
Second, keep it concise. Before the discussion, write down one or two sentences that clearly describe why you asked to speak with them in the first place. If you have more than that, it can feel overwhelming to your team member. Imagine being loaded with a list of multiple things that need to be improved all at once.
THIRD: The Compliment Sandwich
Next, pair what they are doing wrong with what they are doing RIGHT. An example of this would be, “You did a great job with getting the students engaged in activities, but I am concerned your follow-up student evaluations are lacking comprehensive information.” By doing this, they are reminded that their work is still appreciated and valued; however, there are still things that need improvement.
FOURTH: Provide Support
Finally, ask what they need from you to be successful. In this context, feedback may not be enjoyable, but it is necessary to create a healthy work environment. It assures that they understand the problem and provides you with the information to better support your team. This also helps a lot to avoid an uncomfortable situation like this one in the future.
Integrating these steps will make hard conversations easier and help to make these exchanges feel less accusatory and more focused on growth. Sometimes these discussions are unavoidable, but staying calm, making it less about what went wrong, and focusing on growth and development is the best way to ensure the issue finds resolution.