Even if most of your employees welcome feedback, some may resist your efforts. Maybe they misunderstand what you’re trying to do, or they feel threatened by any type of criticism. Whatever their reasons, you should be prepared for a certain amount of pushback when you coach. Here are some of the most common forms of resistance you’re likely to encounter:
· Comparisons. Joe’s response to your attempts to coach may be something like: “Why are you talking to me? I’m doing more work than Sarah is.” Don’t fall for this deflection. Respond with: “I’ll deal with Sarah myself if it’s necessary. Right now I want to focus on your performance.”
· Jumping to conclusions. Dave may seem quick on the uptake: “Yes, I know that’s a problem, but don’t worry, I’ll fix that right away.” Or he may assume he’s in deep trouble when the situation is less serious: “Oh, no, are you going to fire me?!” Either way, resist the temptation to back off. You’ve got to make sure you and Dave agree on what the problem is, and on what the correct solution should be. “Let’s talk about what’s going on so we’re both on the same page.”
· Minimizing the problem. When the facts are indisputable, some employees will try to dismiss their importance. Carla may say: “I know I made a mistake, but the customer didn’t get mad, so it’s not a big deal.” Don’t obsess about trivia, but do uphold your standards: “Even if the customer didn’t make an issue of it, Carla, someone else might—and in any event, preventing similar mistakes will save us time and money in the future.”
· Denial. Be sure you’ve got the facts so the employee can’t claim you’re mistaken or misinformed. If Emma says, “I haven’t been more than a few minutes late in weeks,” you’d better have evidence to back up your position: “I’ve personally seen you come in 20 minutes or more late on two occasions. We need to talk about punctuality.”
All the success!