Week 4 DiscussionCOLLAPSEDifficult ConversationsAs you saw in the Penny’s Performance Review video, employees do not always understand they are not meeting expectations until it’s too late.Scenario: The performance of your top employee has recently slipped. You had a conversation with the employee to address it. The employee improved for a period of time, but slipped again. Now your boss has noticed, which questions your leadership. You do not want to terminate this employee because you know the value of this person and his/her work, and you trust and respect this employee; however, you are starting to look bad.It is time to take action, so you schedule a meeting with the employee.Part One: Discuss your strategy (supported by sources) for the meeting, including: How will you use candor to make your point clear during the conversation? How will you remove your own personal emotion from the conversation, while still maintaining empathy and trust with the employee? Considering the course materials for this week, what techniques for building effective working relationships will you employ, and why do you choose these techniques?Part Two: Write a brief dialog recording the conversation between you and this employee that demonstrates your use of the strategies outlined above. Part 1 – Discuss your strategy (supported by sources) for the meeting, including: – How will you use candor to make your point clear during the conversation?- How will you remove your own personal emotion from the conversation, while still maintaining empathy and trust with the employee?- Considering the course material for this week, what techniques for building effective working relationships will you employ, and why did you choose these techniques?Remember, you need to have a serious discussion with your team member. Their performance slipped and you had a previous discussion. He or she improved for a while but now his or her performance has declined again. It is time for action. In addition, your boss told you to handle it, so your leadership actions are also being observe Here are some thoughts as you consider your Discussion response:Setting the Scene:- Where will you have this discussion: on the floor, in private, “Starb Body Language and Communicating Like A Supportive Leader:- How will you show empathy and demonstrate vulnerability?- How will you handle the conversation if it gets highly emotional?- How will you listen and show non-verbal communication skills?- What relationship-building techniques will you utilize?- How will you show that you are trying to get them through this challenge?Action Plan:- How will you know if they improved?- How much time will you give them to improve?- How often will you evaluate them?Part 2: You have to create a brief dialog (You: “……”, Team member: “……”, etc., etc.,) between you and your team member that demonstrates your use of the strategies outlined above.Begin your dialog by explaining how you will approach this employee and begin the conversation.Make sure your tone is correct, you are empathetic, candid, trusting, vulnerable, understanding, and firm. Remember, this is not the first time their performance declined. Will your dialog end with an ultimatum?With this assignment, we are looking for good communication strategies, candor, and action. Hint….emotional intelligence is also something to consider. I am looking forward to reading some great responses to this very important, albeit silly scenario. If only all of our employees were as adorable as Penny and her little brother!Response 1 Difficult Conversations AssignmentScenarioThe performance of my top employee has recently slipped. I had a conversation with the employee to address it. The employee improved for a period of time but slipped again. Now my boss has noticed, which questions your leadership. I do not want to terminate this employee because I know the value of this person and his work, and I trust and respect this employee; however, I am starting to look bad.Strategy This scenario is not foreign, and my strategy is a very direct one. I will use the Interpersonal and Personal tools as mentioned in HBR: Building Effective Working Relationships in my follow up conversation with the employee (HBR, 1). Since we have quarterly scheduled performance reviews on my team, it will not come as a surprise to the employee. These touchpoints are based upon providing “Continues and Considers.” The HAIL method is how I typically work with my team, providing Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity and Love (Treasure, 2). Not the mushy, emotional love but a love for the betterment of each team member and for the organization. There are interpersonal and personal barriers I will be required to overcome, so my strategy will be to use procedural tools (HBR, 1). Through the clarification of personal goals with a timeline and the documentation of our Performance Plan process, I will establish a fair and powerful guide for both of us. The structured reflection tool will work nicely for the scheduled follow up as defined in the plan. I will follow the “Change First Principle” during the initial conversation and ongoing follow up meetings (Stone, 3). The basic steps of this principle were chosen mainly because they will keep me under control, analyzing my employee and managing emotions. I really don’t care for drama or surprises. At each weekly follow up, very clear communication on performance against goal will be articulated and identified as either complete or incomplete and acceptable or unacceptable . My hope is that this employee will meet the goals and requirements and maintain the improved performance. There is obviously a risk that the employee will leave the organization or fail to meet the Performance Plan. I chose procedural and structured reflection because I believe both are more powerful than they are typically given credit. The speed at which this is delivered is critical. As Jack Welch mentioned “Get the bad news out in the open quickly” (Welch, 4). This was a “bad news to boss” recommendation but I believe employees deserve the same treatment.Brief On April 27, 2020, Brian S. was scheduled to review his performance and he was placed on a Performance Plan as a result. I provided this feedback and status to him at the very beginning of the meeting. During the conversation we reviewed the performance concerns and the lack of alignment to Brian’s goals. Brian expressed that he understood the goals and while he knew he hadn’t delivered at the level he had in the past, he did not realize that he would be provided a structured format to get back on track. He was very disappointed but stated that he planned to exceed expectations on the performance plan. He agreed to the specific goals and timeline which were documented and emailed to human resources and Brian. I have made it clear that my desire is that his improvements become sustainable and consistent or we will have to discuss termination. I also expressed that he has been a highly valued employee and I know his capabilities. I have seen his “A” game in the past and that is the only way we can make our goals as a team.References Harvard Business Review. 2015. Building Effective Working Relationships. Treasure, J. TedTalks. “How to Speak So That People Want to Listen”. Stone, D., Patton, B. & Heen, S. (1999) Difficult Conversations. Penguin Books: New York. Welch, J. LinkedIn, 2016. How to Break Bad News to Your Boss.
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