No pain, no gain

It takes discipline to maintain healthy habits, both for ourselves and for those with whom we work. I don’t enjoy the process of confronting disciplinary or performance problems with members of my team, but failing to address someone’s unsatisfactory output or conduct in a timely manner almost always leaves everyone else asking, “Hey, how do they get away with that?”

Having a straightforward and highly detailed conversation with someone about their poor performance reminds me of the saying, “The truth shall set you free … but first it will tick you off.” 

I anticipate the person on the receiving end of the “truth” will initially be defensive, angry, scared or may exhibit all three reactions. But quickly pointing out what is expected from them in the way of desired behaviors and attributes should remove some of the sting by pointing the conversation toward the future. 

At the end of the discussion, a very specific set of desired outcomes and a relatively short timeline (45-60 days) for their achievement rounds out the process and allows for frequent and necessary follow-up with the individual. 

If the associate is committed to improvement and adopts the desired behaviors, then the “gain” will have been worth the “pain” of hearing the truth. 

What successes have you had with coaching your associates toward improved performance? What has worked or hasn’t worked?