If you believe workplace polls, more than half of working adults do just about the bare minimum that’s required to keep their jobs.
And that’s because their bosses either aren’t aware of the problem or (more commonly) they just let their employees get away with it.
Unless supervisors and department heads confront staffers about performance problems – such as data entry and accounting mistakes, tardiness, dips in productivity and the like – they won’t change.
Confrontational leadership when it counts
Are you and other leaders in your organization prepared to initiate the tough conversations you need to have with underachievers?
Take this quiz to find out. Answer Yes or No to these six statements, then add up Yes replies at the end:
1. I put off some discussions rather than get into an argument.
2. I can bring up problems in a way that makes people defensive.
3. Some people just can’t be motivated to do a better job.
4. When someone can’t do something, I jump in with advice, even though the person may just want someone to listen.
5. When people start bringing up other issues, I can get sidetracked and veer away from the original problem.
6. Sometimes I work through a problem, but don’t clarify who’s supposed to do what by when.
What’s your score? And what’s it mean?
After adding up your Yes answers, here’s how to evaluate yourself:
0-1: You don’t shy away from crucial confrontations. That’s a strong testament to your leadership style and a benefit to your company.
2-3: Do you have to “remind” staffers about the same problems, such as tardiness? You need to address why they don’t take your warnings seriously and whether they want their jobs, because they don’t fear the consequences right now. Ask yourself, “Does this person deserve to be fired?” Your gut response will tell you if an underachiever deserves another chance or whether it’s time to cut bait.
4-6: You are likely bringing personal feelings into work-related issues. Example: You may like a staffer and that person knows it and takes advantage of your feelings. Solution: Focus on the behavior that needs correcting, not the other person and how you feel about him or her. Long term, it’s crucial to remember that being the boss and not a friend is a big part of the job.