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When employees disappoint…

When employees disappoint Ron’s small firm was involved in a lengthy bidding process for a major, high profile project. There was a lot riding on it. They wanted and needed the business and Ron invested quite a bit of money and other resources into it.

Initially his staff was excited about it, but the enthusiasm quickly dwindled after they got some negative feedback from the client mid-way through, and Ron didn’t hide his displeasure.

Ron had chosen Charlie to head up the bid project. He had always had faith in Charlie’s abilities, but now he was disappointed and second guessed his choice.

Things came to a head when Charlie arrived late for a meeting the next day. Ron, still angry about the negative feedback, laced into Charlie in front of the other staff members, embarrassing himself, Charlie and everyone in the room.

Rather than motivating the team to rally and make the needed edits to the bid, Ron’s responses left them defeated and disenfranchised instead.

Ron felt that Charlie needed to be held accountable for his actions, but he knew somewhere inside, that this wasn’t the way to get positive results.

We talked about what happened and laid out a strategy for dealing with situations like this one in future.

Here’s what it looked like:

1. Inhibit any knee-jerk response. Take a breath, bite your tongue. Refrain from shooting from the hip. Realize that the person or people involved already feel bad enough without you rubbing their noses in it.

2. Consider what your goals are for the situation from a big picture perspective. Be crystal clear about the outcome you want to achieve. Most likely it will be to improve performance or to “fix” a failed effort, not to make someone feel bad and undermine the chance of a positive outcome.

3. You have choices here. Make them carefully. Be specific about what they need from you to help them to turn the situation around.

How do you handle it when an employee disappoints? Join the conversation below:

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