How to Respond to Poor Performances and Untimely Interruptions

Article excerpt

Question: I gave an important project to an employee whom I thought was very capable. He just submitted his final report to me, and it is totally unusable. How do I tell him what I think without de-motivating him? D.F.

Answer: Before giving any feedback to your employee, it may be helpful for you to receive some first: when you give this type of assignment to an employee, it is important to meet with him or her on a regular basis to monitor progress, answer questions, and make necessary adjustments. If you turn employees loose on these kinds of projects, you are setting yourself up to be unpleasantly surprised.

During the life of the project, your meetings do not have to adhere to a rigid schedule. Rather, you can adjust their timing to fit the particular employee and the state of the work. Although these discussions will take time, by putting in minutes along the way, you will be saving yourself hours by having the job done properly. In addition, you will not have to go through the pain of meeting with an employee who expects to receive a rave review, but is actually going to receive a grave review. Just as the report was an unpleasant surprise for you, your dissatisfaction is going to be an equally unpleasant surprise for your employee. The best way to approach this person is with an honest, open, and businesslike style. Admit that you should have met with him or her more frequently while the work was being done, as several aspects of the report were different from what was needed. Give specific examples of the problems, and state precisely what is needed in each of these cases. If you make your conversation more of a description and prescription, rather than just an evaluation, you will generate far more acceptance. Unless the report is absolutely unusable, you can take the approach that it is still a draft. Give the employee specific information as to the changes that need to be made, and then set some meeting dates to review how things are going, adding that your door is open if questions arise. By using this coaching approach, there are fewer surprises, and those that occur are more likely to be pleasant. Q: My manager constantly interrupts me, finishes my sentences, and fills in words if I hesitate for even a second. He does this to everyone in our department, and it's driving us crazy. …