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On tackling tough communication

Dear Profit Prophet,

I have a manager that works hard but doesn’t meet deadlines and has excuses much of the time. When do I know it’s time to make a call on counseling him? He is sensitive, and I need him.

Dear Needy,

The time is now. 

When you withhold information or postpone communication, it rarely serves you or your employee. Three results are likely to occur: Resentment will build up in you, business results and morale may suffer and the foundation of the culture is undermined.

You can bet if the manager isn’t meeting deadlines and objectives, the people under him aren’t either. The first step, of course, is to inquire if there is some setback or issue that is going on with that employee or if the issue can be solved with assistance in some organizational area.

One thing about companies with great cultures is that when they hire, they hire people that embrace the core values. I recommend one of the core values be around “word being bond.”

When that is a core value, every hire will understand a condition of employment is that promises are kept. Of course in a dynamic environment things go off track and the unexpected occurs, but encourage your team to communicate ahead of time and renegotiate the deadline if possible.

I also recommend a coaching culture be in place so everyone speaks with their supervisor one on one at least once a quarter. Of course, know when coaching is producing results or when the job and the employee are not aligned.

As far as the ongoing reasons you get, may I quote George Bernard Shaw:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

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