Some people just unintentionally bother other people. Now, this is hard enough to deal with in a social setting, but how do you approach it in a meeting with your employees? In an article for Harvard Business Review, Rebecca Knight gives some advice on how to handle the issue.
Canceling the Cringe
Telling an employee that they’re upsetting their colleagues requires a certain degree of delicacy. But the alternative is to let this behavior continue, which can only lead to more issues later down the line. So it essentially boils down to it being a responsibility to act now and prevent further issues from occurring.
The single most important part of this conversation with your problem employee is that you plan what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Try to avoid judgments, generalizations, and interpretations of their behavior, instead opting for a more neutral, objective approach. They may attempt to challenge your feedback or react in a negative way, like crying or yelling. Prepare for these worst-case scenarios and try to check your own emotions to make sure they don’t interfere with the tone of the conversation.
Calmly stand your ground and don’t let the employee dictate how the conversation goes. Focus on your employee’s overall growth and ask for their input so that they might recognize a behavior they did not even notice they were engaging in. By focusing on how to improve moving forward and solving the problem together, you can get the most out of the meeting.
Knight concludes with a few pieces of “don’t” advice to remember in these challenging conversations:
- Ignore rude or difficult behavior. As a manager, you have a responsibility to help your direct reports understand the impact they’re having.
- Beat around the bush. It’s important to be direct when talking about your employee’s development and growth.
- Get agitated. Stay calm and centered during the conversation even if your employee gets defensive.
For a couple case studies that put these ideas into practice, you can view the original article here: https://hbr.org/2017/09/how-to-help-an-employee-who-rubs-people-the-wrong-way