Effective leaders spend 60 percent of their time solving problems, while average leaders spend less than 30 percent of their time fixing what’s broken. What’s worse, weaker leaders devote over 45 percent of their time to routine maintenance activities, while stronger leaders spend only 10 percent of their time on paperwork.
The lesson: If you get bogged down in trivia, you won’t give yourself a chance to lead. That’s why breaking free from the confines of bureaucratic systems to resolve conflicts and produce meaningful results is a key characteristic of an organizational leader.
Our new audio recording — Tough Talks: Scripts & Strategies for Difficult Employee Discussions — offers realistic sample dialogues to help you sidestep potential awkwardness and conduct clear, direct discussions with employees. Learn more about Tough Talks...
Here are a few problem-solving scripts for those difficult employee discussions:
Lay Down the Law Without Picking a Fight
When managing your employees, you may find it hard not to boss them around. After all, you figure it’s your job to direct their performance and improve their behavior or attitude. But if you try to overmanage them, they may rebel. That’s why you should lead by giving guidance, not barking orders.
Example: To make a lasting impression on new employees, respond to their mistake by saying, “I want one thing understood. I’m not here to tell you what you should do or how you should spend every minute of your day. My role is to make you aware of what you can do and why it’s wise to do it. From there, it’s your call.”
This way, you avoid preaching and build trust with your staff by leveling with them in a nonthreatening manner.
Tough Talks: Scripts & Strategies for Difficult Employee Discussions shows you how to use “positive confrontation” to simultaneously protect yourself and your organization, while treating employees with dignity (and boost your image).
Yes, I want to not only learn exactly what to say, but how to say it.
Be a Coach
When employees come to you with problems and expect instant answers, make them work through to a solution. Rather than tell them what to do, ask, “What would you do if I weren’t here?” Have them use the answer as a springboard for their own action plan.
Ask What's Behind Broken Promises
When a peer or employee breaks a promise, that’s a golden opportunity to sort out problems and plan for the future. Rather than lash out, ask politely, “What happened?” Then ask, “Can you help me determine how I can trust you the next time you make a commitment?” This puts the onus on the individual to explain what happened and why it won’t happen again.
Tough Talks: Scripts & Strategies for Difficult Employee Discussions divulge the “9 Rules of Engagement” for successfully handling employee discussions. You’ll want to print out and reread those rules before any important employee talk.
Your host, Paul Falcone — VP of HR at Time Warner — will then provide sample scripts to use in addressing some of the most common – and the most serious – employee problems you’re likely to encounter. Get the audio now!
- Nail down documentation before firing harassment complainant
- Making performance reviews as painless as possible
- Overqualified new hire? Look out for sex disparity
- Warn bosses: Talk of protected characteristics can flag bias
- When workplace romance fizzles, watch out for discipline that looks like discrimination