Monday, 14 March 2016

The Art of Having Difficult Conversations at Work - Focus on the Behaviour not the Person

If you're a manager who feels that they spend 80% of their time dealing with 20% of their team members then you’re not alone. Often manager and supervisors can feel a little overwhelmed in how to deal with this effectively.

In our workshop Managing The Unmanageable, we offer the B.E.E.F. model that you can use to structure your conversation. In the first of four consecutive articles, lets begin by looking at behaviour.

Behaviour: Tell them exactly what the problem behaviour is. Remember that this may be the first time that anyone has pointed out to them that this behaviour is inappropriate. Or they may have fooled themselves into thinking that it is appropriate because no one has called them on it. It may take time for this new information to sink in. To help them out:

      - Introduce the problem with a clear statement
            - Be specific on what the issue is
-     - Select the most important issue and deal with that first

Remember also that, in order to avoid triggering a flight or fight response, it is key to keep the conversation focused on the problem and not to inadvertently stray into making the conversation about them as the individuals. This is harder than it sounds and requires discipline from you.

           - Avoid charged phrases such as “you are not measuring up” or “this is unacceptable”;

- Avoid shortcuts like “you’re slacking off” and continue to paint he full picture: for example, “when you left the work unfinished it left the project in jeopardy because …”

- Avoiding a reference to emotion at this stage, especially the emotions of others who are not present. For example “you offended Dianne when you made that comment” can allow the employee to debate the impact of the comment and Dianne’s reaction. This kind of comment is likely to be met with “well, she never said anything to me about it.”

       To check out more on the Managing the Unmanageable program click the link Managing the Unmanageable

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