When confronting an employee about a major issue, you walk a fine line between correcting the behavior and only making matters worse. If you let the situation get the best of you, it could diminish your reputation as a level-headed leader in the future.
Nine entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) discuss what actions good managers never take when discussing an employee's shortcomings, and what other tactics to use instead.
1. Pass the blame.
When something goes awry in a business, the human tendency is to look for a scapegoat. Before you go off the rails placing all of the responsibility on a particular employee, examine the situation objectively. Should you or other leaders, partners or colleagues hold some accountability for what occurred? When approaching the at-fault employee, take ample responsibility first and confront second.--Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
2. Start with an accusation.
When you start by accusing them of making a mistake (even if there is some conclusive evidence), it creates an immediate defensive environment where the shields go up. Rather than point the finger, you need to approach them carefully and focus on why something might have happened and what you can do to help them not make that mistake again.--Peter Daisyme, Hosting
3. Make them feel bad.
When there are issues that arise, blaming or putting the employee in a negative spot isn't going to help anything. Pointing out a mistake or issue should be used as a learning opportunity. By letting the employee know you still value their work, it can be a chance to put a new procedure in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.--Phil Laboon, Eyeflow Internet Marketing
4. Call them out in front of their co-workers.
If an employee has made a major mistake, chances are he already knows it. Never call out this mistake in front of his peers; this will make him defensive and could crush the morale of the company. Instead, set aside ample amount of time to speak to the individual privately. Make sure the environment is calm and will lead you both to a solution, rather than placing blame ahead of time.--Faraz Khan, Go Direct Lead Generation
5. Keep a running tally of mistakes they've made.
This is not the time to make a list of everything they've ever done wrong. Instead, make sure the employee understands the current problem, and work together on finding a solution to resolve the issue. Leaving on a positive note, and with an action item to move forward, leaves the employee less anxious while also equipping them with the tools to fix the issue.--Simon Casuto, eLearning Mind
6. Take it personally.
People make mistakes. Sometimes they put the business at risk, and to many founders and managers, that feels personal. Whatever decision about the employee's future is made, the focus should always be on the issues at hand and never about the personalities involved. Turn mistakes into a learning experience for both employee and company -- a process change may help avoid the same mistake in the future.--Vik Patel, Future Hosting
7. Confront them immediately.
Don't address an employee when you are emotional. Let your own feelings cool before confronting them. Whether it takes an hour, a day or a week, take the time you need to approach the situation with a level head. Reacting immediately won't be beneficial for the employee or yourself.--Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
8. Insult and assume.
When confronting your employee about a mistake, never insult him. No matter how badly he behaved, there's no justification for insults. If the point of the conversation is to understand what really happened and lead to a positive conclusion, then insults are never the way to go. Listen to employee's side. Don't come into the conversation with assumptions. It may make more sense than you think.--Ayelet Noff, Blonde 2.0
9. Play the blame game.
A lot of people focus on finding blame -- this is a big mistake. You need to focus on finding long-term solutions and implementing procedures that can help your business avoid mistakes. Have the employee come up with suggestions for improvement to make them feel more involved.--Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME