Tips for Getting Over Your Fear of Confronting Employees

Confrontation is no fun, whether it’s in your personal life or at work. It can be tempting to try to cope by avoiding the underlying issues altogether, but that only makes matters worse in the long run.

A better plan is to change your mindset and do the right thing – in fairness to you, your employee and your company – when something difficult involving a team member needs to be corrected. Here’s a roadmap of steps to follow:

Walk a mile in your employee’s shoes.

View the situation from the perspective of the employee. They may be unaware that a problem even exists. Think how you would feel if, out of the blue, your supervisor came to you and announced you’ve been failing to meet expectations – or worse.

  • People would rather be told early on that their performance is lacking or their actions are unacceptable. If you allow a negative situation to fester, like an infection, it will only spread and worsen. Simply realizing this makes confrontation less intimidating and easier to bear.

Set up regular one-on-one meetings.

By meeting with your employees privately on a regular basis, you make ongoing communication part of everyone’s routine. It gives you the opportunity to practice constructive criticism and nip problems in the bud. And when bigger issues do arise, you can handle them without your “private meeting in my office” generating gossip, speculation or rumors.

  • Allow a set amount of time for each meeting. If you don’t use all of it, fine. But unless there’s a true emergency, avoid canceling these sessions. You may assume everything is rosy, but working based on assumptions is like walking a slippery slope. Things can come tumbling down in an instant.

Get your ducks in a row.

When you have to confront someone, steel yourself for the meeting by gathering ample documentation to support your case. Gather evidence to convince yourself first, then the employee.

  • Write an outline of what you want to say and how you want to say it. Practice with a trusted friend or family member if it helps increase your comfort level. Or, consider involving an HR rep if the matter is highly sensitive or potentially explosive.

Realize that confrontation is part of your job.

Confrontation is not mean or unfair – it’s part of your job. Remind yourself that as a manager, one aspect of your role is holding your team members accountable for their work. It also helps to remember that you have to account to your own boss for achieving desired results.

A professional career coach can be invaluable as you develop your communication, confrontation and conflict management skills – and help your employees do the same. The workforce development experts at PrideStaff Fresno can provide the guidance and training your company needs to stay ahead of the competition and maintain your winning workforce. Contact us today to learn more.

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