So as a consultant I have had the privilege of being in interim director roles for some of the organizations I work with. This allows me to reengage my managerial skills that I sp frequently preach to others in my training sessions I continuously say to managers I am working with that it is very easy for me to tell them how to handle a situation but actually handling it is a whole different ball game. Well this recently proved true for me. I recently failed to follow my own advise and thought it prudent to fess up and share the lesson I learned.
I was recently supervising someone that displayed some specific behaviors in group meetings that were not appropriate. I believed that the person did not have ill intentions but none the less the way they came across was not positive and at times came across as insubordination. As I have readily admitted anytime I am doing management training, I am a social worker. I have learned to manage but it does not come naturally for me. So in this instance I chose to avoid addressing this negative behavior thinking it was a just a fluke; and the next time it happened that perhaps it was just my perception; and the next time it happened that I would address it next time. Can you relate?
Unfortunately, I could tell this persons presentation in group meetings was poisoning the team and I wondered how often this happened outside of the meetings as well. Surely if they felt free to say the things they said in group meetings they must have felt free to say it when there was no manager present. And still, I did not address it.
Finally, I had enough. I sat down and planned out what I would say ensuring that my feedback was about measurable behavior and the outcomes of that behavior as well as the changes I expected to see moving forward. I scheduled the meeting with the person and two days before I met with them they resigned. I was so relieved that I would not have to have this very uncomfortable conversation! However, I was then asked to provide a final evaluation of this persons performance and I could not include any of this behavior because I had never addressed it with them. I robbed this person of the opportunity for growth. I believe this behavior will surface again in the future and I could have provided honest feedback that allowed opportunity for self awareness, correction, and growth. I also robbed myself of a growth opportunity. And then I robbed the organization of having the info about this employee in the event that they wanted to reapply in the future.
Bad deal all around.
Don’t wait to address negative behavior no matter how uncomfortable that is.