The Awful Conversations Managers Dread (And How to Survive Them)

tough-conversationsLike the common cold, we’ve all had them at one time or another – the dreaded tough conversation. Just like telling someone you like them – or don’t – in high school, difficult conversations with your employees can be awkward and uncomfortable. Just the thought of having a tough conversation can make your palms sweat, your stomach ache, and your mouth go dry. And, the longer you put them off, the worse they get.

Unless you’re the rare individual who enjoys grueling altercations, being the bearer of bad news probably isn’t your favorite part of the job. But, sometimes it’s just that – part of the job. As a leader, there are times you have to address issues with employee performance and engagement. There are times when the pink slip is a necessary evil for the success of your team and your company. To help you effectively handle those tough workplace conversations, we’ve created a series of free podcasts with advice and tips to make the difficult conversations we all face a little bit easier.

Confronting an Employee Error
Unless you only supervise robots, workplace mistakes are bound to happen. It’s part of being human. At some point, you may be forced to deal with an employee who has made a mistake. If an employee has made an error you need to address, take action immediately by having a private conversation to try to understand their actions. Be sure you gather all the facts before you make any disciplinary decisions. For steps you should take before, during, and after a conversation, listen to this short podcast about handling an employee error.

Termination Due to Poor Performance
Terminating the employment of a team member is never easy, but when an employee’s performance has been continuously low and is threatening your entire team, termination may be unavoidable. If you have to let someone go, don’t delay. Putting off termination will only make it more difficult to justify termination in an unemployment claim and can be disastrous for your staff. Check out this quick podcast for information on how to handle the termination conversation with an underperforming-employee.

Termination Due to Downsizing
Having to let people go is always difficult. Letting people go because of company downsizing is even harder. And unfortunately, this tough conversation is one that many managers have become all too familiar with. When you’re forced to lay off a good employee due to economic and financial factors out of your control, approach the conversation as honestly as possible. It’s important to be straightforward, tactful, and sympathetic. If you’re facing company layoffs, this podcast can help ease the pain of a very difficult conversation for you and your employee.

Handling Employee Engagement Challenges
With company layoffs, downsizing, and restructuring, employee engagement has become a concern for numerous companies. Employee commitment has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. So, if you sense your employees are becoming careless and unfulfilled in their day-to-day work, it may be time to address productivity and engagement problems. Signs to watch for when employees are becoming disengaged include missed deadlines and negative input. Take away some great tips for having a conversation about an employee’s engagement level with this brief podcast.

Having tough conversations with your employees is sometimes part of the job. Make your job a little easier by preparing yourself with the Express Tough Conversations Podcast series and those dreaded discussions will be over before you know it.

Resources For Your Team
Wish your employees would address issues with you before you’re forced to confront them with a difficult conversation? Share these resources from the Express Tough Conversations Podcast series for employees with your team members to equip them to come to you first.
Clarifying Priorities
Admitting a Mistake
Addressing a Roadblock in a Project

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