It’s Monday. A fresh start. So, let’s begin with some positivity, shall we?
As I mentioned in my last TGIM, I’ve been struggling a bit with being overwhelmed by some things at work. One of those things is someone who has been under-performing on my team. If you’ve ever managed people, you know that this a) takes a lot of time and effort to address and b) takes a lot out of you mentally. Everyone has a different management style, but for me, I care about the person. We are not machines or robots, but real, live people. I’m lucky that out of this approach has come several friends in addition to them being direct reports.
This isn’t necessarily the popular way to manage. If you read about management, it seems that you should keep your distance from people and always be formal and business-like. Maybe in some environments that’s really what works, but what I know is that I don’t want to work in any of those environments. So, I’ve struggled with how to handle this most recent situation. I don’t yell unless absolutely warranted (translation: I specifically remember each time I’ve legitimately yelled at work) and I do my best to be fair in addressing areas of improvement.
When you get into serious performance issues, any attempt to be friendly and treat someone as a person usually goes away – whether that be because HR deems that appropriate or because it is easier not to think of them as a person. I hate this. I’ve been through it multiple times after managing people for almost 10 years now. When someone isn’t working out, I don’t want to treat them coldly and breathe down their neck. So, I struggle.
This is getting long winded, but here is where I get to the part about being kind. Even in these situations, I think it always pays to be kind. No one ever wants to be on the receiving end of bad feedback about their performance. No one wants to worry every day about their job. So, maybe just be kind and address the person the way you would want to be addressed if you were in that same situation. Not every role is suited to every person. They may be great somewhere else. Just not here. In the end, I talked to the person as I would want to be treated. And you know what? I think it worked. We were on the same page and on the same team to figure out where to go from here. Will that work in every situation? Probably not. But I still believe it pays to be a little kinder than you need to be and I’m sticking by that.