IT Managers Know How To Fix Problem Employees Using Feedback

by drjim on March 24, 2011

You Just Have To Get Them To Listen To You

You Just Have To Get Them To Listen To You

IT Managers who discover that they have a problem employee on their hands need to move quickly to solve their problem. The trick is determining just exactly what you need to do. Sure you could fire them, but then you’d have to go through all of the effort of going out and finding their replacement. It sure seems like coming up with a way to transform a problem employee into a good employee is what you should be looking for.

How To Use The Feedback Technique

You would think that using the feedback technique would be pretty straightforward, right? I mean it’s just sitting down with your problem employee and telling them what they are doing wrong. How hard could that be to do?

If that was all that there was to using the feedback technique, this would be a very short article. It turns out that there is more. The simple fact is that in order for feedback to be successful, you as an IT manager actually need to do a lot both before you have the talk and then during the talk itself.

The first mistake that a lot of IT managers make when trying to use the feedback technique is that they assume that they already know it all. They schedule the meeting with the problem employee and then just show up and start talking.

The problem with this is that there is a good chance that you really don’t know it all. Every situation has a lot of background to it. If your problem employee is not meeting your performance expectations, you need to do some checking in order to verity that you’ve clearly laid out for them what you expected them to do. This means that you’re going to have to go back and dig through your emails and meeting notes to verify both what’s been requested and what’s been promised.

Next you’ve got to make sure that you’ve been measuring the correct things. In order to say that there’s a problem, you’ve got to be able to point to specific things that prove that there’s a real problem. To put it simply, you’re going to need to take a look at the performance objective that you’ve specified and then you’re going to have to take a look at how your are measuring your problem employee against this objective. Double check to make sure that the measurement matches the objective.

How To Handle The Feedback Meeting

When the day arrives for the big meeting, make sure that you handle it correctly. A lot of what determines the outcome of your actions has to do with how you prepare for and handle the meeting.

The first thing that you want to keep in mind is that when it comes to dealing with workplace performance issues, nobody likes a surprise. This means that you can’t spring a feedback meeting on someone. You need to tell them ahead of time that you want to have a feedback session with them, and this is the important part, make sure that you tell them what issue you want to discuss with them. This will allow them to get ready for the talk.

How you start the feedback session makes all of the difference in the world. If you start the meeting in an upbeat, positive way, then your chances of working with the problem employee and creating a solution are greatly increased. Starting in a “we’ve got a problem here” mode or one in which the employee fears for their job will only result in confrontation and denials.

Finally, instead of berating your problem employee for not performing at the level that you want them to, instead take a different approach. Take the time to explain why their behavior is having a negative impact both on you and on their fellow coworkers. By showing them how their actions are holding back the team, you have your best chance of making them want to change how they are going about doing their work.

What All Of This Means For You

As an IT Manager, one of your primary responsibilities is to make sure that your team is maximizing their contributions. If you’ve got a problem employee, then you’ve got a problem that you’ve got to solve.

The feedback technique provides a quick and simple way to go about starting this transformation process. However, it’s not something that you can do casually – you are going to have to both prepare to do it as well as treating it like a project.

The benefits of using the feedback technique to turn around a problem employee are numerous. It’s well worth the time that it takes to work with an employee that’s already on the team instead of having to fire them and then start over. Feedback is what good IT managers do well!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What signs do you think that you should look for in a problem employee that would show that the feedback technique is working?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

You’d think that to be a good IT manager all that you’d have to be good at is managing people and understanding technology. Most of the time you’d be correct; however, it’s the times when this isn’t the case that far too many IT managers drop the ball.

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