Everybody Wants Feedback

Before Christmas I was working with a client who was feeling down because he was going to have let one of his key staff members go. It was bad timing, but it had to be done. The work product being produced was below standard and affecting the entire business.

The Courageous Conversation

I asked if anybody had laid out to the guy what exactly they expected of and what he needed to do to do well in his job. The answer was “No, but he has to know, right?” I asked what they thought would happen.

Then I suggested that they should have the talk first. The company at least owed it to him to let him fix it if he was willing and able. If he wasn’t interested or couldn’t change things, or didn’t think it was a problem, they could still let him go.

The Payoff

The next week I asked how it went. The response from the employee was one of gratitude, not hostility as expected. “I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.”, he said. He worked hard at fixing the short-comings in the work, the company was able to keep an employee that everybody liked and who fit in well. They didn’t have to go the pain of replacing somebody in a highly skilled and in-demand position.

Your Next Step

Have you ever wanted feedback and not gotten it? Have you ever assumed that somebody must know what they were missing in their work? What conversations have you been avoiding?

What Employees Want

The want to belong, be safe, and be appreciated. Too simple. Sometimes the best ideas are.

John Spence: The Three Keys to Employee Engagement

Also about employee engagement:
Back to Work Without Trust – how the employee/employer contract has changed and what to do about it
Critical Conversations – the consequences of not having the courage to confront mediocre performance
Mean Girls in the Workplace – focusing on things we can see and hear takes personality out of confronting toxic behaviour