Damon’s been struggling and not pulling his weight in the office and you’re about three seconds from tossing him out on his @ss. If it was not for the holiday season, he would be gone already.
You’ve worked like a mule to build a team that outperforms the competition and he’s been pulling you down.
But this time, Damon’s gone too far.
He sabotaged your last meeting and you’re done with him. You had McMillan at the table with a pen in his hand and he comes up with the single doubt that had been swimming around in McMillan’s head. That was all it took for the man to walk.
Damon felt horrible. His head wasn’t on straight because of his fight with his soon-to-be-ex-wife. But, the rookie crap he just pulled was inexcusable.
There’s one thing you forgot about Damon. He used to be one of your top players. But lately? He’s your top screw up.
And it’s not because he’s struggling because of his wife leaving him or his kids suffering through their divorce. He’s struggling because you let your relationship deteriorate.
Instead of boosting Damon’s confidence when he needs it most, you’ve been reaming him a new one each week. And all that degradation has far outweighed any impact you had on him when you handpicked him from a competitor six months ago.
When we engage in negative conversations, our cortisol levels shoot up. It’s a defense mechanism we all have when we’re confronted. The problem is how long that cortisol lingers in our system and imprints the negative event and the emotions that come with it. Dragging down our sense of self-worth, and therefore our performance.
One conversation like this can outweigh a month’s worth of praise. And as leaders, we have a responsibility to focus on the company’s bottom line and being nice.
Now, I’m not saying you have to tiptoe around the people in your office (like Peter Pan) and not demand the performance you know they’re capable of. I’m saying your delivery of criticism not only affects them, it affects your team’s performance.
Tact is Your Best Friend
You need Damon back on his A-game. Pelting him with strays isn’t going to get his head back in it.
Delivering your messages with tact and positivity will.
When we hear positive messages, our oxytocin levels shoot up and make us feel good. However, that feel good feeling doesn’t linger like cortisol’s yuck factor. So, these interactions have less of a lasting impact than the negative ones.
So, it’s best to pile on as many of those “feel good” convos as often as possible.
Use your tact to let your team know that they’re ALMOST where they need to be and that you’re impressed with the fact that inspite of X, they’re close to achieving Y. So, let’s see if we can push all the way to Z.
Being Tactful isn’t Being Soft
Hard-nose managers out there, you’re scoffing and saying it’s not your place to baby employees. And it’s not. It’s your place to drive performance. And if that entails being a little less of a tough guy, then that’s what you have to do.
Being nice never hurts anyone. But it will certainly get you much closer to the right results.