Every year about this time, I pull out of of my favorite leadership books (The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus) and review all of the tips and tricks that are available in a fun and easy read. If you have not read the book, I highly recommend taking a couple of hours out of your day and see what Santa and the Elves have to say!
One of the most difficult areas for me personally is to find out “who is naughty and nice”; specifically confronting performance problems early. As a manager, I find coaching the “super stars” to be one of the easiest (and most rewarding) parts of my job. I often find myself ‘showing off’ those individuals because honestly, that is just easy to do. However, when an issue arises, I find myself dragging my feet to address the issue simply because I don’t like confrontation. I want everyone to be a rock star and I do not understand how people could want to create problems for themselves. I have spent tons of hours of training to try to learn just how to handle the performance issue confrontation and I know all of the tips and tricks; that does not make the confrontation any easier.
Here is my personal solution to addressing performance issues: reframe and rethink how I address the issue. If someone is having an issue, my job as his or her manager is to help them see the error of their ways and to move them toward the appropriate behaviour. If they choose not to take that feedback and to continue to provide poor service, then there is not much I can do. However, that individual may not actually know there is an issue. That communication is up to me as his or her manager to let them know. Rather than looking at the issue as a confrontational issue, I look at it as a learning opportunity. How the indivudal chooses to use that opportunity is up to them.
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” ~Rosalynn Carter