You have given a person a job, explained the responsibilities, and did the training. All is going well until….something happens.
Depending on your business that something can be anything from missing a deadline, lack of follow through, not doing what is needed or worse yet – upsetting a customer. Being the patient and coaching leader you are, you ask “what happened?” The answer you get makes you want to rip your hair out.
Here are some of my favorite responses:
- I didn’t realize it was important
- Today or tomorrow, what difference does it make
- I didn’t get the information from (insert another employee name here)
- Well, so and so didn’t get back to me
- The form I needed wasn’t on the server, so I skipped it
What excuses have you heard?
You look at them in disbelief and I wonder “who is this person?” They have given you excuses not reasons. What do you now? The questions become, how do you follow up? Should you give it to someone else? Why does this person work here?
First, don’t fire them (at least not yet). Let’s see if they can improve.
Second, don’t give it to someone else. The only thing they will learn is that by not doing something or messing up, someone else will clean up their mess.
Let’s focus on how to follow up. The easiest thing to do is to jump to conclusions – which may or may not be correct. Instead start asking questions. “Why did you think this wasn’t important?” Or “Why didn’t so and so get back to you?”. Don’t accept the first answer, you need to dig deeper. Keep asking questions until you find the nugget to teach/coach on. Who knows maybe along the way, you may learn about your customer or other employees.
At the same time, don’t tell them what to do. Again, this will teach them to not take the initiative to figure it out. (This is another topic for deeper discussion).
How you end the conversation will set the tone for moving forward. Don’t assume they will know what to do next and don’t tell them. Instead ask “what do you plan to do now” and “when will it be done”. Show them they are still responsible for the outcome, correction or deadline. Have them set a date for your follow-up. Be sure you follow-up on the date.
What to understand how to work better with your people? Let’s talk.