Point out what your Employees aren’t Good At

It will probably hurt you more than it hurts them!

Written by Deanna Hunter

I recently read a short post on The Tim Sackett Project about how to tell an annoying candidate, who keeps coming back to apply for more positions, that they suck.  That they just aren’t going to get hired.   It’s a good post.  You should read it.

In case you’re wondering, Tim’s advice on that topic was… just tell them!  That’s it.  I wholeheartedly agree.  I’ve always used this approach for any situation where someone at work sucks at something.  I just find a way to tell them.

I had an HR colleague once say that she sees it a bit like having spinach stuck in your teeth and walking around all day without anyone pointing it out.  You’ve been to multiple meetings with clients, had a team meeting with all of your direct reports, and been to a strategy session with your boss.  And no one told you that you had a piece of spinach in your teeth.  And you just wish they had.  It would have been much better to be told early in the day, feel a bit embarrassed in the moment, and be able to fix it.

Every business leader should learn how to tell someone they aren’t good at something, with respect and without being mean.   There are lots of good reasons to do this.  The most important one is because it’s your job as the boss!   No one goes to work to do a crappy job and everyone relies on their boss to give them feedback.  So find a way to do it.  Practice, call for backup, write out the words you are going to say.  Just do it.   Remember, it probably hurts you more than it hurts them.

Some of the other reasons to point out to an employee that they aren’t good at something are also pretty compelling.  One important one is so  they can fix the problem.   If they don’t know there is a problem they can’t, and likely won’t, figure it out on their own.   Almost as important is the fact that if you don’t, the other people who also see the problem (and don’t kid yourself, everyone does) will wonder why you aren’t dealing with it.  Losing your credibility with employees or customers because you don’t have the guts to deal with it is not a good place to be.  And lastly, because if you don’t tell them they suck, they are going to continue to suck and make things worse and worse as time goes on.

No one’s perfect.  Everyone has things they aren’t good at.  It’s nice to know that someone might actually have the courage to point it out for you so you can fix it.  Wouldn’t you want to know if you sucked at something?

This article was in Performance Management, and Talent Retention category... Click to find more posts in the same topic

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