Mind the gap is dedicated to sharing knowledge and information on how to close the frustrating gap between your goals and outcomes at work.
Avoiding honest conversations?
You notice that you, or someone that you know, is avoiding an honest conversation with an underperforming team member. You (hear them) talk about the person concerned but not directly to them.
For the Manager who is not taking action:
- What’s this person’s problem? Why can’t they just …?
- It’s spreading! Others are playing the blame game and not being accountable.
- I’m annoyed at myself for not addressing this properly sooner.
For the whole team:
- It’s not fair – we have to do more when ‘they’ are not performing.
- ‘Why should I bother if ‘they’ don’t have to?’ Apathy is creeping in.
What’s the impact on me of not taking action?
- I’m fed up listening to myself moaning about how so and so doesn’t do this and that.
- Thinking and talking about this person takes up so much of my time and energy.
- When a member of my team under-performs it reflects badly on me.
- I’m being hard on myself for not taking action and it’s reducing my confidence and self-respect.
- When I moan about others I’m not being the person that I want to be.
What are the benefits to me of taking action?
- I save so much time in the long run.
- My team, peers and manager respect me more.
- I respect myself more.
- A capable, confident happier member of my team – a positive for the whole team.
- I’m true to myself. If it was me, I’d rather know the truth than others talking about me behind my back.
- I can delegate more, the team grows and I can focus on doing what only I can do.
Where do I start?
So what can I control, what can I influence and what do I have to accept?
What can I control?
- I can control myself, my thinking and my actions. How am I holding myself back?
- Recognising that I’m in self-defence mode and thinking:
- It’ll work itself out.
- I’ll just keep the peace.
- I don’t want to handle this badly and look stupid.
- They’ll steamroller me!
- I haven’t got time! They need so much help to improve. I’ve got my job to do.
Choosing to take control
- I’ll write what the business needs from their role, why and my expectations.
- I’ll break down the behaviours needed, those met and those that are not met. Am I being clear & fair?
- Does this person know what’s expected? Do others?
- I’ll check out my thinking and ask a few trusted people their opinion.
- I’ll be self-accountable and ask myself what role do I play in this situation?
- I’ll show the team the way by role-modelling – and I’ll start now.
How can I grow my influence?
Actions speak louder than words. When I feel that someone is sincere in their actions I respect, trust and listen more.
What do I have to accept?
The person concerned may or may not be capable of this role. It’s my responsibility to myself, to them, to my team and the business to find out, support and resolve this situation.
What might I do?
- Nothing and carry on avoiding this.
- Change my thinking and focus – this will be better for everyone once resolved.
- Find a source of support and speak to them.
- Find the courage. I feel uncomfortable but I’ll do it anyway.
So what will I do?
The thinking is always worse than the doing. What positive step can I take right now?
The thought of an honest conversation can trigger our self-defences. Before we know it, we are the leading role in our own horror movie, doing battle with a monster, being steamrollered by a vindictive employee or dying from the public humiliation of a conversation that’s gone wrong.
Or we can make conscious choice to think calmly and consciously choose to think differently.
Most people want to do a good job. They like to know how their role fits into the big picture, what’s important about it and the benefits to them and to the business in doing that role well.
By leading the way, being open and genuinely role-modelling the behaviours we seek from others, honest conversations become easier and we earn wide respect, including for ourselves.
If you’d like support in minding the gap or have an area of focus that you’d like included in ‘mind the gap’, call Angela on 07751 979683 or email [email protected]
About the author: Angela Dellar is a professionally qualified business growth and leadership coach, passionate about closing the gap between what you want to achieve in your team or business and where you are now.