New Managers and Tough Conversations Often Do Not Go Well Together
We know from decades of designing and delivering customized management training programs that new managers and leaders are especially apt to shy away from difficult conversations or tough situations. What is it about new managers and tough conversations?
Afraid of Being a Bad Boss
The first thing we found out about new managers and tough conversations is that many managers are concerned about becoming the “bad boss” or alienating their new team members. But there are some times when it is important to step up and confront a problem that will only grow if not handled in a smart, timely and skillful manner.
New Teams Are Not Always High Performing
The second thing we found out about new managers and tough conversations is that managers rarely inherit a ready-made team of collaborative, cooperative individuals. More than likely, managers have at least one team member who lacks the skill, knowledge, capability, willingness or motivation to get the job done in a way that makes sense.
New Managers Have Increased Visibility and Expectations
The third thing we found out about new managers and tough conversations is that others are, of course, watching. Managers need to find a way to deal with each difficult situation effectively. Managers need to show the team that they have their best interests at heart and deserve respect.
You have a team member (Chris) whose work is critical to the team’s current project. His work is well done but consistently late. His tardiness (due to simple procrastination) affects his colleagues who have to sacrifice nights and weekends in order to deliver their related pieces of the project on time.
Tough Conversation Strategy #1
Tough Conversation Strategy #2
Tough Conversation Strategy #3
Tough Conversation Strategy #4
The point is that you want to urge Chris toward compliance with the timetable you need to set for the project. You may find that Chris will choose to leave the team. If so, you have lost a difficult member who jeopardized the team’s morale and success. If not, by addressing the situation directly and without being unnecessarily aggressive, you have built a more collaborative relationship.
The Bottom Line
Chris may have been a tough customer. But there are strategies as a new manager to bring this type of employee into the fold, onboard with the team’s goals, and a fully productive team member.
To learn more about managing teams, download 6 Ways New Managers Foster Better Team Collaboration
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