Initiating and Engaging in Courageous Conversations Important Elements for Successful Outcomes

Written by James Gulezian, Adjunct Professor, Goldey-Beacom College specializing in  leadership, business management, and human resources.

As leaders we are often faced with extremely challenging, problematic situations stemming from inappropriate behavior or unsatisfactory performance on the part of one or two people who seem to occupy 80% of our time and attention. More often than not, the at-work behavior or performance issue is more deeply rooted in the individual’s personality/temperament that serves to reinforce and self-rationalize their behavior or mode of performance. As such, the leader, and person’s co-workers grow increasingly frustrated, angry, and resentful of the “problem child” and, in effect, suffer from this toxic presence in the work environment. It’s bad enough that this problem person is performing at a sub-par level, he or she has now impeded the performance of the whole team, stemming from delays from work-arounds, others having to constantly follow-up and pay strict attention to everything he or she does, etc.

For various reasons stemming from the employee’s personality, time with the company, time in the job, etc. the leader knows deep down inside that time is running out and the need to effectively address the issue(s) with the person is NOW. By this point, the eyes of the leader’s boss, peers, and staff are on him or her, expecting that this situation is resolved once and for all. The leader also realizes that, notwithstanding the other person’s personality, feelings, and temperament, he or she must come to grip with their own emotional framework; recognizing all the personal obstacles that could impede an effective collaborative problem resolution outcome. While important to identify these derailment influences, it is equally important to identify what the leader will keep in mind and demonstrate to keep the discussion on a productive course.

For leaders who face these high-stakes, high-impact situations, it is critically important to feel confident in knowing what to do and, for that matter, what to avoid when having these extremely challenging discussions. It’s all about the manner in which the discussion is started and navigated to completion that spells the difference between success and disaster.

Come to our workshop (click here to register) where you will be provided a practical hands-on framework for leaders to plan and execute effective interactions with problem employees. Significant attention will be placed on interpersonal dynamics and effective use of important tools such as active listening, emotional intelligence, collaborative problem-solving, preservation of self-esteem, and building greater trust.