Confronting an Employee the right way

Confronting an Employee

Confronting an Employee the right way

Nobody enjoys confrontation, and it can be a really tricky space to navigate for leaders and HR. Luckily, if we avoid making some common communication mistakes, it can get a whole lot easier.

Below are three of the most common errors managers make when dealing with confrontation like defiant employee behavior, and tips on what you can do instead:

1. Hold your fire:

Sometimes you’re really angry or you’ve avoided confrontation for so long, you have a long list of complaints. So, you just spew them out one by one. Now, no matter how valid your complaints, your employee will be so overwhelmed by the feedback that it’s unlikely they will take in everything you’ve said, let alone make the necessary changes.

The solution? 

Make things easier on your employees and yourself by addressing issues as soon as they arise. Calmly and clearly state the issue at hand, the impact, and give no more than three examples of when it occurred.

2. Too soft:

The opposite of the above is to avoid confrontation so much, that you work overly hard to minimise any negative impact. When this happens, the employee often doesn’t even know he or she has a problem to fix.

The solution?

Be direct with your employees so they have clear action steps on what to do next. When confronting, tell them what’s at stake and that you wish to resolve this. And, work with them to ensure a plan is in place before they leave the meeting.

3. The Compliment Sandwich:

This is a method where you begin with a compliment, sandwich in a complaint, and top it off with another compliment. Confusing? We think so. Plus, every time you pay someone a regular compliment, they are going to wince in anticipation for the follow-up complaint.

The solution?

When you notice someone doing great work, tell them straight away and stop there. Give them the opportunity to bask in their success and don’t pop their bubble. And, when the time comes to address an issue, they can focus on the problem clearly, and hopefully, make a change.

So there you go, with these tips, you can hopefully turn unpleasant conversations into opportunities to improve everyone’s performance.


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