In Part 1 of this Important Leadership Characteristics article we cover why mastering this skill matters: Addresses Problems Quickly By Focusing on Facts and Behaviors
The Definition of This Skill: This is the ability to quickly, specifically and factually discuss with each team member poor job performance, ineffective personal behaviors and poor work habits. If you’re doing this well: you address problems quickly, objectively and without judgment and in such a way that the employee wants to take positive action.
Two actions that will help you master this skill, (they are already helping me get better at it...) as well ALL of the important leadership characteristics that great leaders do, are:
ACTION STEP #1:
Think through and plan your employee discussion ahead of time.
Yes, I know you've heard about and know about planning, but before you skip over this basic, but crucial action step, be sure to read the simple, but oh-so effective, step-by-step planning steps below.
Take these pre-discussion planning steps BEFORE meeting with anyone to discuss performance:
EXAMPLE #1: "Karen is always late and she talks on the phone too much." Fails the Litmus Test. Why? It's not specific or factual.
EXAMPLE #2: "Karen has been late three times in the last week. This week I have overheard three, 10-20 minute, personal phone calls per day." Passes the Litmus Test. Why? This one is much better, because by applying the Litmus Test questions - "What did I see? What did I hear?" makes the Problem Statement more specific and factual.
WHY THIS WORKS: Being more factual and objective when talking with others about performance increases your chance of having the conversation go more smoothly, because the discussion is centered totally on behaviors, and NOT on the the value of the person as a human being.
When you get really good at stating the facts, objectively and truthfully, based on what you have seen and heard, people are less defensive. This helps you both move away from 'fighting' about the problem and toward finding solutions. When the employee is engaged, and not fighting, defending and/or resisting you --- he or she is more likely to begin trying to help resolve the problem(s).
ACTION STEP #2:
Get really good at RECEIVING feedback & practice GIVING feedback.
The second key to improve your ability to: Address Problems Quickly By Focusing on Facts and Behaviors. is to: Get really good at receiving feedback and practice giving feedback. This is one of those leadership characteristics that takes PRACTICE, if you want to be good at it.
Here are some ideas for getting more feedback and for practicing:
Addressing problems quickly and effectively IS indeed one of the most important leadership characteristics to develop and master. Contact us for a complimentary coaching call.