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Leadership strategies for those difficult employee discussions

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in Best-Practices Leadership,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Performance Reviews

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.

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.

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.

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.

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