It’s difficult to tell solid performers that their hard work on a project isn’t quite good enough.
How do you ask team members to take another crack at a project without demotivating them?
Here’s an approach you can use:
Start with specific praise. Don’t just say, “Good job, but ... .” Highlight the ways in which the team members exceed your expectations or improved on past performance. You’ll let people know you have faith in their abilities when you ...
... Point out what still needs to happen. Though you may want to know why things didn’t happen, that’s not your main objective. Go point by point, making sure the team members know the objectives and how to accomplish them. You should be able to identify any external obstacles or other impediments.
Ask for an action plan. You’ve identified what you want done. Let your team members decide how that work will get done. Ask for specific steps that the team will take to rework the project, and agree on when and how those steps will be taken.
Make your commitment. You may need simply to provide feedback and encouragement, or you may need to intervene to remove external obstacles. But either way, make a commitment to the team to help the project succeed.
Acknowledge postitive progress. Don’t ignore the steps the team has taken that shows they are on their way to achieving the desired results.