Russell Stratton, president and leadership champion with Bluegem Learning.
I work with organizations just like yours to help managers improve individual and team performance and drive up business results.
One of the common issues that clients of mine have with their management teams is people having problems dealing with these difficult workplace conversations.
Too often than not, managers through a lack of confidence or lack of a trusted process avoid having those difficult conversations with employees and their teams.
The content of the conversations could be on anything...
poor attendance, or
just behavior that isn't conducive in the work place.
What I've put together is a model that is simple and easy to use so managers can structure their conversation with some preparation beforehand so that when they sit down with the individual, that conversation is a lot smoother, a lot easier to do and has a positive impact.
The BEEF Model
There are 4 stages in terms of forming our conversation.
Are we able to be really crystal clear with the individual what it is about their behavior, what they're doing or not doing, that's causing the problem?
If it's somebody that's being late attendance, are we really clear about that's the issue? If it's about an aspect of their performance, perhaps they're not completing their work on time, we're really clear that that's the behavior that's causing the problem.
We don't need a long list, but we need two or three very clear examples that we can give to somebody that can demonstrate exactly when and how the problem occured.
I'm thinking in this way that we can get there in terms of times and dates and a short explanation of when the incident occurred.
This is the sort of secret sauce...
It's the effect that their behavior is having on other people on the team and in the organization and even our wider customers.
Why is this important is people can often rationalize away their behavior.
"Oh, well this was because of X, Y, or Z."
"This is why I was doing this on this particular occasion."
But what they can't do is rationalize away the effects of their behavior and what it's having on the people that they work with or the customers that they have.
For example, go back to attendance...
We have a member of your team that always comes in 10 to 15 minutes late. Not too much a big deal.
You know, my bus was late, I didn't catch my train, my car didn't start; whatever the excuse may be.
But the effect that it has is that their co-worker, John, always leaves work late and then has to go and pick up their kids from daycare and is always faced with additional charges.
That's the effect.
The effect they can't argue with.
Their reasons for why they were late ... Well, they'll come up with whatever excuse that they can think of. So, having the effect clear as to what that means for the team is important.
To give a second example with that, perhaps it's somebody who hasn't produced their report on time. What was the effect that it had? Well, you sat in a management meeting with the VP operations and when they asked you for the update, you couldn't give it to them or you had to waffle around what the problem was because you didn't have that information that your team member was supposed to have done with you.
Again, as you can see the effect: serious.
And it's something that they can't argue that that didn't happen.
Our last part of that conversation is about the future.
What do we want to see that's changing going forward?
What is that person going to be doing differently that's going to solve the problem that we have?
Don't leave that conversation until you've made sure you've locked that down.
Just to recap, folks....
Preparing for your conversation with a team member, make sure that we know:
What the BEHAVIOR is that's causing the issue,
EXAMPLES that will illustrate it,
The EFFECT is that's having on others, and
what FUTURE we want in terms of their change and behavior.