When you are in a situation where you need to confront an employee about their performance, the first step to proper confrontation is to handle it immediately. Being timely with your confrontation drives four important results: Employee morale, performance, impact and mission.
Employee morale is a sensitive thing and your leadership will go a long way to dictating if the morale is good or bad. Yesterday I gave two scenarios of confrontation to illustrate what can happen when we choose to confront or not to confront. The bottom line is that when we confront right away, it sends a message to your team that you care about doing the job right. Generally speaking, most people respect that if the confrontation is handled properly.
Another thing about morale and timely confrontation is that sometimes as a leader, our first analysis of a situation is not correct. I know that I have personally had situations where an employee did something that caused me to think they had lost their mind. Upon sitting down with that employee later and hearing their reasoning for their actions, it was not crazy at all. I felt like a jerk for thinking so poorly of one of my own team.
In terms of impact, being timely with your confrontation allows you to confront poor performance while it is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Anyone who has been in a leadership position has tried to confront a situation well after the proverbial statute of limitations has run out on confronting that particular situation. If you haven’t experienced this as a manager, then you probably have definitely experienced this in a relationship with a significant other. When we aren’t timely we lose impact in that after a while we forget the details and overall the conversation becomes awkward and forced.
The third area that timely confrontation impacts positively is in the area of your business mission. When we fail to confront, timely or otherwise, we allow poor performance to become the standard for our business. Projects are never completed on time, customers are unhappy, excuses become common place etc. As a business owner, no one is going to be truer to your business mission than you. It’s up to you to ensure that everyone is working towards that goal.
The last area that is positively impacted is performance. When you are timely with your confrontation, you get a better performance from your employees, from your business and even from yourself. No one hates the leader that made them better and helped them achieve their goals. Everyone hates the leader who has no spine and therefore allows people to fail without saying anything. Timely confrontation allows you to correct small problems and ensures that they don’t turn into big problems down the road.
Those are my 4 key reasons to be timely with your confrontation. What are yours?