The manager’s ability to deliver timely, honest, sometimes critical and corrective feedback is central to delivering good quality performance reviews; but like common sense, managerial courage isn’t always that common.
Failure to address performance issues may result in new employees passing through probation, other team members having to redo part of all of their work, the team becoming de-motivated because under performance isn’t addressed and that as time elapses the under-performance issue(s) becomes bigger and harder to resolve and often with much more negative consequences for the company.
Failure to identify, communicate and document poor performance may create difficulties if the disciplinary process has to be used down the track because the desired standard of performance isn’t being achieved.
We are often asked about disciplining or even dismissing an employee but, upon questioning, we find that little was done in the past about addressing the issue with the employee concerned, and now it has escalated into an issue of much bigger proportion. At this stage, the manager has become frustrated and wants the employee to be ‘disciplined’ or even ‘dismissed’.
Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger in their book “FYI For Your Improvement” define Managerial Courage as:
- “Saying what needs to be said at the right time, to the right person, in the right manner”.
If you are the manager who speaks up, says what needs to be said, takes some heat, faces up to people problems quickly, early and directly, provides direct, complete and actionable feedback, then you have managerial courage.
If, on the other hand, you hold back in feedback situations, don’t step up to issues, avoid conflict and are unwilling to take the heat of the controversy, then you don’t have managerial courage.
The good news. This is a skill that can be learnt and even those who by their nature avoid conflict situations can become masters.
Part of the skills to be learned include preparing yourself with the facts and identifying a solution to the problem.
The other key aspect is to step up to the plate quickly and deal with the problem when it is only a ‘tiny’ problem. It’s when it has escalated into a much bigger problem that it becomes so difficult to address the issue if it hasn’t been addressed before. And, interestingly, if you address it early, it’s is most likely that this is the end of the matter, as usually, the employee hears the message loud and clear.
Book: “FYI For Your Improvement” by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger.
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