In a previous blog, I wrote of how the people who work with me understand what’s to be done, what success looks like and how I’m going to evaluate the work. I also wrote that I trust my judgment as to their ability to do the work I assign and their commitment to fulfill the assignments they accept.
Every now and then things don’t always work out the way envisioned and it’s necessary to correct course. Sometimes the situation has changed. At these times, it’s purely a matter of communicating the changes as quickly as possible amongst ourselves, so we can get back on course.
When a change in circumstances is not the reason for an individual’s performance not living up to my expectation the cause always falls into one or both of two areas: attitude or ability.
Let’s start with ability; if I and/or the person to whom I’ve assigned a task have misjudged that person’s ability to do the work in the time allotted within the resources provided then my job as the leader aka the boss is to uncover and correct the disconnect. This can be a very awkward situation. Because both the person who’s falling short thought they could do the job and so did I; both of our judgments have been proven wrong. Depending on how you handle the situation, feelings can be hurt and then the folks involved are not thinking about how to fix the situation, but how to avoid blame.
So, creating an environment where the person reporting to me feels respected is crucial. The moment the person I’m “correcting” feels disrespected, the relationship and the trust that holds it together begins to erode. Relationships, particularly between people who are charged with thinking for a living, are held together by trust.
Hence, when I identify the issue as one where the person was not capable of doing the work; we both have to accept responsibility and do our best to either provide the person with the knowledge they need or reassign the work. No harm, no foul; we thought we could, we made a mistake; let’s fix the situation and move on.
That’s enough for today.
I’ll write about handling the situation when it’s one of attitude at another time.
How do you handle situations like this?
Please, write to me, I’m always open to hearing how other leaders help their people succeed.