By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to reprimand poor performance yet motivate continuous improvement. Reading time: 4:58
You are fuming mad. This is the fourth straight time that one of your top performing employees has been late for your staff meeting. Somehow you bite your tongue. You maintain your composure throughout the meeting.
“Bill, your cavalier attitude on attending staff meetings on time is frustrating to me and to the rest of the team. I thought we had already addressed this issue. Any way I have had it.
“The next time you’re late for a staff meeting, you’ll have to have more than a good excuse. Or else! Or else it will be your last meeting with us because you will no longer be working here. I don’t care how many sales records you break,” the boss deadpanned as he walked out of the meeting room.
Bill was stunned. And so was his boss. The boss’s outrage backfired. Bill’s sales performance got worse after their confrontation. Sure, Bill did report to the next staff meeting on time. The boss had won the battle but seemed to have lost the war.
What happened? The boss let his temper undermine his leadership capability. He got sore. But the most effective leaders, in reprimanding employees, don’t get sore. They SCORE.
Score is an acrostic that I developed to help me to take charge over my own emotions and take more control over my staff’s response to a reprimand.
The SCORE process provides faltering employees more constructive feedback, the kind of reprimand regimen that becomes a win-win for both staff and the leader.
Here’s how you could use the SCORE process to reprimand that tardy employee more effectively, more professionally and more sensitively. SCORE is a 5-step reprimand process:
(Be specific about this particular behavior in this particular situation.)
“Bill, I’d like to talk to you about you being late for this morning’s staff meeting. I know that things come up and we all have to juggle a lot of balls up in the air, but it concerns me when I notice that you have been consistently late for our last four staff meetings.”
(Describe the specific impact of the behavior)
“Bill, when you are not here on time for our staff meetings, we all lose. The rest of the staff loses out on learning by example from the top performer you are. Keeping commitments is a critical behavior in our success and when you’re late for scheduled staff meeting, you and I miss an opportunity to teach that critical skill of keeping your commitments to our entire staff. And of course when you’re not on time, you may miss valuable information that could help you sell even more aggressively.”
(Ask for the employee’s help in creating alternative behaviors for a successful result).
“ I wonder what suggestions you have that would help you to get to the staff meetings on time in the future?”
(Collaborate on above options, then collectively agree on a clear response that will result in the expected new behavior.)
“Okay, then you are going to make sure your reports are in the day before the meeting so that you don’t have to spend so much time that morning getting ready for the meeting, is that right? And I will be sure to get you the key agenda items for the meeting at least a week ahead of the meeting.”
(Assess and acknowledge the specific newly exhibited behavior.)
“Bill, I really liked the way you got that report into me the day before our meeting and I know we all benefited from your being on time at the staff meeting the following day.”
In developing your own reprimand regimen, it’s too easy to get sore rather than SCORE. It’s too easy to attack, to blame, to accuse, to judge and to impose. It’s too easy to dictate, “do it this way.”
It’s too easy to become judge and jury “you are such a poor team player.” It’s too easy to unleash your pigeon prowess where you, fly in, crap on your people and fly off.
But the most effective leaders can never be pigeonholed like that. They know more than that. They know the SCORE.
Know the SCORE in to keep your conflict management leadership skills in mint condition.
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